Monday, May 9, 2011

East of Eden, John Steinbeck.


East of Eden, written by John Steinbeck, is centered around two families: The Trask's and The Hamilton's. Primarily set in the middle of the Salinas Valley in California, Steinbeck covers three generations spanning roughly sixty years.

At the beginning of the novel, Steinbeck goes into great detail about the Salinas Valley including sights, sounds, colors, and smells. The story unfolds by switching back and forth from the Hamilton and Trask family describing many love interests, financial troubles, and family problems. (I feel if I give any more information about the characters that it will spoil the novel because each character and family intertwines.)

The novel is thought to parallel many biblical events, mainly those of Cain and Abel due to the fact that there is often anger, vengeance, and violence. The novel, "was not well accepted by the critics of its day, who found it heavy-handed and unconvincing, especially in its use of Biblical allusion" (Wikipedia). Although many people disliked it, it soon became a bestseller and known as one of Steinbeck's greatest achievements.

1.) Throughout the novel, Steinbeck displays what it means to be a good person and what it means to be a bad person. What do you feel makes a person good? What do you feel makes a person evil?

2.) There are often cases of violence and vengeance within the book, often due to jealousy. Do you feel these are good ways to handle jealousy and personal problems, or do you think they should be dealt with peacefully?

12 comments:

allie s 11-12 said...

A good person to me is someone who does good for others. A person who tries to make the world a better place. They are not negative and create positive energy. They consider the effect of their actions, and how they effect other poeple and thinks about things before doing or saying them. A person is evil, when they do harm to others.They don't care about anything or anyone and will harm others.Evil is dark and good is the light.

Alexander C. [13-14] said...

I believe that a person can be considered evil or "not good" if they choose not to help others live happy lives. People who are evil do not value the positive aspects of human life and have a negative view of the human elements.

Rachael B MOds 5-6 said...

I think a genuinely good person is someone who is selfless and honest. People are naturally flawed so it is not sensible to say that a truly "good person" is someone who has never sinned or done anything bad. However, it is someone who has the heart to know the difference between good and bad and also who can forgive and love. As long as people are capable of these abilities and make some attempts throughout their lives to improve the happiness of others or show remorse and empathy to those struggling or hurting, I think that means that they are a good person.

Kristen R. 11-12 said...

To answer the first question, I completely agree with Rachael. I believe that a "good person" is someone who is willing to put others before his or herself. A truly good person is able to make personal sacrifices for the greater good. Human nature inevitably consists of flaws, for no human being is perfect; nonetheless, what differentiates a good person from an evil person is the ability to dictate what is morally right and what is wrong. Some people might argue that this concept is ambigious and based on a person's own beliefs; however, if a society's laws have determined an act such as murder for instance to be wrong, a good person would refrain from executing that act. A "good person" follows the laws that are set in place because he or she knows that it is the right thing to do, and he or she feels strongly about upholding those morals.

Kelsey M. 13-14 said...

2. Of course I do not think that violence and vengeance are the best way to handle problems but they are usually how most people deal with their problems. I think it is just human nature and people need to work on how they react and learn to be more peaceful.

Laura B. 13-14 said...

1) I believe that everybody has the capabilities to commit acts of good or evil. It is their decisions on which way to act that determines whether someone is "good" or "evil".

Mike B 13-14 said...

I belive people can be both good and evil. We all have tendencies to be good and bad. If one decides to act on the good and supress the bad I feel that person is good. It is our act that determine if we are good or evil not our nature.

Allie H 11-12 said...

Answering question number 2, I believe that it is easier for everyoe if you just handle jealously issues peacefully. There is no use getting all stressed out and frustrated if it is possible to avoid it. Everyone probably deals with issues of jealousy at some point in their life, but most of the times it is best if you just avoid the situation and try to look past it (unless it becomes a bigger issue down the road).

Hayley D 11/12 said...

1. I feel that a good person is anyone that has good intentions. You can't determine if someone is good or bad just based off of what you see. Don't get me wrong, I think a person's actions say a lot about who they are as a person, but it shouldn't be the only way in which we judge a person.
2. I think that they should be dealt with peacefully. Violence and vengeance only cause more conflict.

Kali D. 13-14 said...

1. I think everyone can be a good and bad person. Being a good person is doing the right thing for yourself and for others. And being a bad person is doing harm to others. Everyone possesses this qualities at one point in their life.

Kelsey M. 11/12 said...

1) We all have our ideas about what kinds of people are good and evil and like many things in life, it is not black and white. There will always be that gray area, but I feel most people have good intentions. These intentions just get interrupted sometimes, and their judgement can be clouded for many reasons. I think that someone who tries to do good and has good morals is a good person. Although it is cliche, I think in order for someone to be "good," they should treat others the way they want to be treated.

Heather M. 13-14 said...

To me, a good person is somebody does the right thing, or does something to help others and not just care about themselves. A good person should be a well-rounded person with a fun personality. What makes a person evil or bad is when they act selfish or disrespectfully. A bad person is also someone who makes bad or wrong decisions.