EAST OF EDEN BOOK PDF
PENGUIN BOOKS EAST OF EDEN John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, in The town is a few miles from the Pa Author: John Steinbeck . PENGUIN BOOKS EAST OF EDEN John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, in The town is a few miles from the Pa. Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out.
|Language:||English, Spanish, Dutch|
|Genre:||Business & Career|
|ePub File Size:||21.64 MB|
|PDF File Size:||15.51 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Regsitration Required]|
In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden "the first book," and indeed it. has the primordial power and simplicity of. Part of the Penguin Orange Collection, a limited-run series of twelve influential and beloved American classics in a bold series design offering a modern. In his journal, John Steinbeck called East of Eden “the first book,” and indeed it First published in , East of Eden is the work in which Steinbeck created his.
They collected souls as they collected jewels. They gathered mountains and valleys, rivers and whole horizons, the way a man might now gain title to building lots.
These tough, dried-up men moved rest-lessly up the coast and down. Some of them stayed on grants as large as principalities, given to them by Span-ish kings who had not the faintest idea of the gift. These first owners lived in poor feudal settlements, and their cattle ranged freely and multiplied. Periodically the owners killed the cattle for their hides and tallow and left the meat to the vultures and coyotes.
When the Spaniards came they had to give every-thing they saw a name. This is the first duty of any explorer—a duty and a privilege. You must name a thing before you can note it on your handdrawn map.
East Of Eden
Of course they were religious people, and the men who could read and write, who kept the records and drew the maps, were the tough untiring priests who traveled with the soldiers. There are many saints, but they are not inexhaustible, so that we find repetitions in the first namings.
We have San Miguel, St. But places were also named from the way the expedition felt at the time: Buena Esperenza, good hope; Buena Vista because the view was beautiful; and Chualar because it was pretty. The descriptive names followed: Paso de los Robles because of the oak trees; Los Laureles for the laurels; Tularcitos because of the reeds in the swamp; and Salinas for the alkali which was white as salt.
Then places were named for animals and birds seen—Gabilanes for the hawks which flew in those moun-tains; Topo for the mole; Los Gatos for the wild cats. The suggestions sometimes came from the nature of the place itself: Tassajara, a cup and saucer; Laguna Seca, a dry lake; Corral de Tierra for a fence of earth; Paraiso because it was like Heaven.
Then the Americans came—more greedy because there were more of them. They took the lands, remade the laws to make their titles good. And farmholds spread over the land, first in the valleys and then up the foothill slopes, small wooden houses roofed with red-wood shakes, corrals of split poles.
Wherever a trickle of water came out of the ground a house sprang up and a family began to grow and multiply. Cuttings of red geraniums and rosebushes were planted in the dooryards. Wheel tracks of buckboards replaced the trails, and fields of corn and barley and wheat squared out of the yellow mustard. Every ten miles along the traveled routes a general store and blacksmith shop happened, and these became the nuclei of little towns, Bradley, King City, Greenfield. The Americans had a greater tendency to name pla-ces for people than had the Spanish.
After the valleys were settled the names of places refer more to things which happened there, and these to me are the most fascinating of all names because each name suggests a story that has been forgotten.
I think of Bolsa Nueva, a new purse; Morocojo, a lame Moor who was he and how did he get there? The names of places carry a charge of the people who named them, reverent or irreverent, descriptive, either poetic or disparaging. The wind whistled over the settlements in the after-noon, and the farmers began to set out milelong wind-breaks of eucalyptus to keep the plowed topsoil from blowing away.
And this is about the way the Salinas Valley was when my grandfather brought his wife and settled in the foothills to the east of King City. Chapter 2 1 I must depend on hearsay, on old photographs, on stories told, and on memories which are hazy and mixed with fable in trying to tell you about the Hamiltons. They were not eminent people, and there are few records concerning them except for the usual papers on birth, marriage, land ownership, and death. Young Samuel Hamilton came from the north of Ireland and so did his wife.
He was the son of small farmers, neither rich nor poor, who had lived on one landhold and in one stone house for many hundreds of years. The Hamiltons managed to be remarkably well educated and well read; and, as is so often true in that green country, they were connected and related to very great people and very small people, so that one cousin might be a baronet and another cousin a beggar. And of course they were descended from the ancient kings of Ireland, as every Irishman is.
Why Samuel left the stone house and the green acres of his ancestors I do not know. He was never a political man, so it is not likely a charge of rebellion drove him out, and he was scrupulously honest, which eliminates the police as prime movers.
East of Eden
There was a whisper—not even a rumor but rather an unsaid feeling—in my family that it was love drove him out, and not love of the wife he married. But whether it was too successful love or whether he left in pique at unsuccessful love, I do not know. We always preferred to think it was the former. Samuel had good looks and charm and gaiety. It is hard to imagine that any country Irish girl refused him. He came to the Salinas Valley full-blown and hearty, full of inventions and energy.
His eyes were very blue, and when he was tired one of them wandered outward a little. He was a big man but delicate in a way. In the dusty business of ranching he seemed always immacu-late. His hands were clever. He was a good blacksmith and carpenter and woodcarver, and he could improvise anything with bits of wood and metal.
He was forever inventing a new way of doing an old thing and doing it better and quicker, but he never in his whole life had any talent for making money. It was an unlikely place for a man from a green country to come to, but he came about thirty years before the turn of the century and he brought with him his tiny Irish wife, a tight hard little woman humorless as a chicken.
She had a dour Presbyterian mind and a code of morals that pinned down and beat the brains out of nearly everything that was pleasant to do. I do not know where Samuel met her, how he wooed her, married. I think there must have been some other girl printed somewhere in his heart, for he was a man of love and his wife was not a woman to show her feelings. And in spite of this, in all the years from his youth to his death in the Salinas Valley, there was no hint that Samuel ever went to any other woman.
When Samuel and Liza came to the Salinas Valley all the level land was taken, the rich bottoms, the little fertile creases in the hills, the forests, but there was still marginal land to be homesteaded, and in the barren hills, to the east of what is now King City, Samuel Hamilton homesteaded.
He followed the usual practice. He took a quarter-section for himself and a quarter-section for his wife, and since she was pregnant he took a quarter-section for the child. Over the years nine children were born, four boys and five girls, and with each birth another quarter-section was added to the ranch, and that makes eleven quarter-sections, or seventeen hundred and sixty acres. If the land had been any good the Hamiltons would have been rich people.
But the acres were harsh and dry. There were no springs, and the crust of topsoil was so thin that the flinty bones stuck through. Even the sagebrush struggled to exist, and the oaks were dwarfed from lack of moisture.
Even in reasonably good years there was so little feed that the cattle kept thin running about looking for enough to eat. From their barren hills the Hamiltons could look down to the west and see the richness of the bottom land and the greenness around the Salinas River. Samuel built his house with his own hands, and he built a barn and a blacksmith shop. He found quite soon that even if he had ten thousand acres of hill country he could not make a living on the bony soil without water. His clever hands built a well-boring rig, and he bored wells on the lands of luckier men.
He invented and built a threshing machine and moved through the bottom farms in harvest time, threshing the grain his own farm would not raise. And in his shop he sharpened plows and mended harrows and welded bro-ken axles and shod horses.
Men from all over the district brought him tools to mend and to improve. Besides, they loved to hear Samuel talk of the world and its thinking, of the poetry and philosophy that were going on outside the Salinas Valley. He had a rich deep voice, good both in song and in speech, and while he had no brogue there was a rise and a lilt and a cadence to his talk that made it sound sweet in the ears of the taciturn farmers from the valley bottom.
They brought whisky too, and out of sight of the kitchen window and the disapproving eye of Mrs. Hamilton they took hot nips from the bottle and nibbled cuds of green wild anise to cover the whisky breath. They called him a comical genius and carried his stories carefully home, and they wondered at how the stories spilled out on the way, for they never sounded the same repeated in their own kitchens.
Samuel should have been rich from his well rig and his threshing machine and his shop, but he had no gift for business. His customers, always pressed for money, promised payment after harvest, and then after Christ-mas, and then after—until at last they forgot it. Samuel had no gift for reminding them. And so the Hamiltons stayed poor. The children came along as regularly as the years. The few overworked doctors of the county did not often get to the ranches for a birth unless the joy turned nightmare and went on for several days.
Samuel Hamil-ton delivered all his own children and tied the cords neatly, spanked the bottoms and cleaned up the mess. And he was equally good with mare, cow, or woman. Samuel had a great black book on an available shelf and it had gold letters on the cover—Dr.
Some pages were bent and beat up from use, and others were never opened to the light. To look through Dr. These are the used sections—broken bones, cuts, bruises, mumps, measles, backache, scarlet fever, diphtheria, rheumatism, female complaints, hernia, and of course everything to do with pregnancy and the birth of children. The Hamiltons must have been either lucky or moral for the sections on gonorrhea and syphilis were never opened. Samuel had no equal for soothing hysteria and bring-ing quiet to a frightened child.
It was the sweetness of his tongue and the tenderness of his soul. And just as there was a cleanness about his body, so there was a cleanness in his thinking. Men coming to his blacksmith shop to talk and listen dropped their cursing for a while, not from any kind of restraint but automatically, as though this were not the place for it.
Samuel kept always a foreignness. Perhaps it was in the cadence of his speech, and this had the effect of making men, and women too, tell him things they would not tell to relatives or close friends. His slight strangeness set him apart and made him safe as a repository. Liza Hamilton was a very different kettle of Irish. Her head was small and round and it held small round convictions. She had a button nose and a hard little set-back chin, a gripping jaw set on its course even though the angels of God argued against it.
Liza was a good plain cook, and her house—it was always her house—was brushed and pummeled and washed. Bearing her children did not hold her back very much—two weeks at the most she had to be careful. She must have had a pelvic arch of whalebone, for she had big children one after the other. Liza had a finely developed sense of sin. Idleness was a sin, and card playing, which was a kind of idleness to her.
She was suspicious of fun whether it involved dancing or singing or even laughter. She felt that people having a good time were wide open to the devil.
And this was a shame, for Samuel was a laughing man, but I guess Samuel was wide open to the devil. His wife protected him whenever she could.
She wore her hair always pulled tight back and bunned behind in a hard knot. She had no spark of humor and only occasionally a blade of cutting wit. She frightened her grandchildren because she had no weakness. She suffered bravely and uncomplainingly through life, convinced that that was the way her God wanted everyone to live.
She felt that rewards came later. They wanted more and more land— good land if possible, but land anyway. Perhaps they had filaments of memory of feudal Eu-rope where great families became and remained great because they owned things. And all proportions changed. A man who might have been well-to-do on ten acres in Europe was rat-poor on two thousand in California. They and the coyotes lived clever, despairing, submarginal lives. They landed with no money, no equipment, no tools, no credit, and particularly with no knowledge of the new country and no technique for using it.
Surely such venture is nearly gone from the world.
And the families did survive and grow. They had a tool or a weapon that is also nearly gone, or perhaps it is only dormant for a while. It is argued that because they believed thoroughly in a just, moral God they could put their faith there and let the smaller securities take care of themselves.
But I think that because they trusted themselves and respected themselves as individuals, because they knew beyond doubt that they were valuable and potentially moral units—because of this they could give God their own courage and dignity and then receive it back.
Such things have disappeared perhaps because men do not trust themselves any more, and when that happens there is nothing left except perhaps to find some strong sure man, even though he may be wrong, and to dangle from his coattails. While many people came to the Salinas Valley pen-niless, there were others who, having sold out some-where else, arrived with money to start a new life.
These usually bought land, but good land, and built their houses of planed lumber and had carpets and colored-glass diamond panes in their windows. There were numbers of these families and they got the good land of the valley and cleared the yellow mustard away and planted wheat.
Such a man was Adam Trask. Chapter 3 1 Adam Trask was born on a farm on the outskirts of a little town which was not far from a big town in Connecticut. He was an only son, and he was born six months after his father was mustered into a Connecti-cut regiment in She felt that her husband would surely be killed by the wild and barbarous rebels, and she prepared herself to get in touch with him in what she called the beyond.
He came home six weeks after Adam was born. His right leg was off at the knee. He stumped in on a crude wooden leg he himself had carved out of beechwood. And already it was splitting. He had in his pocket and placed on the parlor table the lead bullet they had given him to bite while they cut off his frayed leg. He had enjoyed his military career, what there was of it.
Being wild by nature, he had liked his brief period of training and the drinking and gambling and whoring that went with it. Then he marched south with a group of replacements, and he enjoyed that too—seeing the country and stealing chickens and chas-ing rebel girls up into the haystacks. The gray, despair-ing weariness of protracted maneuvers and combat did not touch him. Even then he was lucky, for the rebels retreated and the field surgeons moved up immediately.
Cyrus Trask did have his five minutes of horror while they cut the shreds away and sawed the bone off square and burned the open flesh. The toothmarks in the bullet proved that. And there was considerable pain while the wound healed under the unusually septic conditions in the hospitals of that day. But Cyrus had vitality and swagger. While he was carving his beechwood leg and hobbling about on a crutch, he contracted a particularly virulent dose of the clap from a Negro girl who whistled at him from under a pile of lumber and charged him ten cents.
When he had his new leg, and painfully knew his condition, he hobbled about for days, looking for the girl. He told his bunkmates what he was going to do when he found her. He planned to cut off her ears and her nose with his pocketknife and get his money back. Carving on his wooden leg, he showed his friends how he would cut her. By the time Cyrus was released from the hospital and the army, his gonorrhea was dried up.
When he got home to Con-necticut there remained only enough of it for his wife. Trask was a pale, inside-herself woman. No heat of sun ever reddened her cheeks, and no open laughter raised the corners of her mouth.
She used religion as a therapy for the ills of the world and of herself, and she changed the religion to fit the ill. When she found that the theosophy she had developed for communication with a dead husband was not neces-sary, she cast about for some new unhappiness.
Her search was quickly rewarded by the infection Cyrus brought home from the war. And as soon as she was aware that a condition existed, she devised a new theol-ogy. Her god of communication became a god of ven-geance—to her the most satisfactory deity she had devised so far—and, as it turned out, the last. It was quite easy for her to attribute her condition to certain dreams she had experienced while her husband was away. But the disease was not punishment enough for her nocturnal philandering.
Her new god was an expert in punishment. He demanded of her a sacrifice. She searched her mind for some proper egotistical humility and almost happily arrived at the sacrifice—herself. It took her two weeks to write her last letter with revisions and corrected spelling. In it she confessed to crimes she could not possibly have committed and admitted faults far beyond her capacity. And then, dressed in a secretly made shroud, she went out on a moonlight night and drowned herself in a pond so shallow that she had to get down on her knees in the mud and hold her head under water.
This required great will power. As the warm unconsciousness finally crept over her, she was thinking with some irritation of how her white lawn shroud would have mud down the front when they pulled her out in the morning.
And it did. Cyrus Trask mourned for his wife with a keg of whisky and three old army friends who had dropped in on their way home to Maine. Baby Adam cried a good deal at the beginning of the wake, for the mourners, not knowing about babies, had neglected to feed him.
Cyrus soon solved the problem. He dipped a rag in whisky and gave it to the baby to suck, and after three or four dippings young Adam went to sleep. Several times during the mourning period he awakened and complained and got the dipped rag again and went to sleep.
The baby was drunk for two days and a half. Whatever may have happened in his developing brain, it proved beneficial to his metabolism: from that two and a half days he gained an iron health. And when at the end of three days his father finally went out and bought a goat, Adam drank the milk greedily, vomited, drank more, and was on his way.
His father did not find the reaction alarming, since he was doing the same thing. The courtship was quick and realistic. They were honorable and reasonable. Her father abetted the courtship. He had two younger daughters, and Alice, the eldest, was seventeen. This was her first proposal. Cyrus wanted a woman to take care of Adam. He needed someone to keep house and cook, and a servant cost money. He was a vigorous man and needed the body of a woman, and that too cost money—unless you were married to it.
Within two weeks Cyrus had wooed, wedded, bedded, and impregnated her. His neighbors did not find his action hasty.
It was quite normal in that day for a man to use up three or four wives in a normal lifetime. Alice Trask had a number of admirable qualities. She was a deep scrubber and a corner-cleaner in the house. She was not very pretty, so there was no need to watch her. Her eyes were pale, her complexion sallow, and her teeth crooked, but she was extremely healthy and never complained during her pregnancy.
Whether she liked children or not no one ever knew. She was not asked, and she never said anything unless she was asked. She never offered any opinion or statement, and when a man was talking she gave a vague impression of listening while she went about doing the housework. The youth, inexperience, and taciturnity of Alice Trask all turned out to be assets for Cyrus. While he continued to operate his farm as such farms were oper-ated in the neighborhood, he entered on a new career—that of the old soldier.
And that energy which had made him wild now made him thoughtful. No one now outside of the War Department knew the quality and duration of his service. Timidly he began to tell Alice about his campaigns, but as his technique grew so did his battles. At the very first he knew he was lying, but it was not long before he was equally sure that every one of his stories was true.
Before he had entered the service he had not been much interested in warfare; now he bought every book about war, read every report, subscribed to the New York papers, studied maps. His knowledge of geogra-phy had been shaky and his information about the fighting nonexistent; now he became an authority. He knew not only the battles, movements, campaigns, but also the units involved, down to the regiments, their colonels, and where they originated.
And from telling he became convinced that he had been there. All of this was a gradual development, and it took place while Adam was growing to boyhood and his young half-brother behind him. Adam and little Charles would sit silent and respectful while their father explained how every general thought and planned and where they had made their mistakes and what they should have done.
And then—he had known it at the time—he had told Grant and McClellan where they were wrong and had begged them to take his analysis of the situation. Invariably they refused his advice and only afterward was he proved right. There was one thing Cyrus did not do, and perhaps it was clever of him. He never once promoted himself to noncommissioned rank. Private Trask he began, and Private Trask he remained.
In the total telling, it made him at once the most mobile and ubiquitous private in the history of warfare. It made it necessary for him to be in as many as four places at once. But perhaps instinctively he did not tell those stories close to each other. Alice and the boys had a complete picture of him: a private soldier, and proud of it, who not only hap-pened to be where every spectacular and important action was taking place but who wandered freely into staff meetings and joined or dissented in the decisions of general officers.
The death of Lincoln caught Cyrus in the pit of the stomach. Always he remembered how he felt when he first heard the news. And he could never mention it or hear of it without quick tears in his eyes. When Mr. Lincoln wanted to know about the army, the real army, not those prancing dummies in gold braid, he turned to Private Trask. How Cyrus managed to make this understood without saying it was a triumph of insinuation.
No one could call him a liar. And this was mainly because the lie was in his head, and any truth coming from his mouth carried the color of the lie. Quite early he began to write letters and then articles about the conduct of the war, and his conclusions were intelligent and convincing.
Indeed, Cyrus developed an excellent military mind. His criticisms both of the war as it had been conducted and of the army organization as it persisted were irresistibly penetrating. His articles in various magazines attracted attention.
His letters to the War Department, printed simultaneously in the newspapers, began to have a sharp effect in decisions on the army. Perhaps if the Grand Army of the Repub-lic had not assumed political force and direction his voice might not have been heard so clearly in Washing-ton, but the spokesman for a block of nearly a million men was not to be ignored.
And such a voice in mili-tary matters Cyrus Trask became. It came about that he was consulted in matters of army organization, in officer relationships, in personnel and equipment. His expertness was apparent to everyone who heard him. He had a genius for the military. More than that, he was one of those responsible for the organization of the G. After several unpaid offices in that organization, he took a paid secretaryship which he kept for the rest of his life.
He traveled from one end of the country to the other, attending conventions, meetings, and encamp-ments. So much for his public life. His private life was also laced through with his new profession. He was a man devoted. His house and farm he organized on a military basis. He demanded and got reports on the conduct of his private economy.
It is probable that Alice preferred it this way. She was not a talker. A terse report was easiest for her. She was busy with the growing boys and with keeping the house clean and the clothes washed. Also, she had to conserve her energy, though she did not mention this in any of her reports.
Without warning her energy would leave her, and she would have to sit down and wait until it came back. In the night she would be drenched with perspi-ration. She knew perfectly well that she had what was called consumption, would have known even if she was not reminded by a hard, exhausting cough. And she did not know how long she would live. Some people wasted on for quite a few years. He had devised a method for dealing with sick-ness which resembled punishment.
A stomach ache was treated with a purge so violent that it was a wonder anyone survived it. If she had mentioned her condition, Cyrus might have started a treatment which would have killed her off before her consumption could have done it.
Besides, as Cyrus became more military, his wife learned the only technique through which a soldier can survive. She never made herself noticeable, never spoke unless spoken to, performed what was expected and no more, and tried for no promotions.
She became a rear rank private.
It was much easier that way. Alice retired to the background until she was barely visible at all. It was the little boys who really caught it. Cyrus had decided that even though the army was not perfect, it was still the only honorable profession for a man. He mourned the fact that he could not be a permanent soldier because of his wooden leg, but he could not imagine any career for his sons except the army. He felt a man should learn soldiering from the ranks, as he had.
Then he would know what it was about from experience, not from charts and textbooks. He taught them the manual of arms when they could barely walk. By the time they were in grade school, close- order drill was as natural as breathing and as hateful as hell.
He kept them hard with exercises, beating out the rhythm with a stick on his wooden leg. He made them walk for miles, carrying knapsacks loaded with stones to make their shoulders strong. He worked constantly on their marksmanship in the woodlot behind the house. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck.
It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. It is an aching kind of growing. Adam found his father out. He had always hated the discipline, as every normal ani-mal does, but it was just and true and inevitable as measles, not to be denied or cursed, only to be hated.
The techniques and training were not de-signed for the boys at all but only to make Cyrus a great man. And the same click in the brain told Adam that his father was not a great man, that he was, indeed, a very strong-willed and concentrated little man wearing a huge busby. Who knows what causes this—a look in the eye, a lie found out, a moment of hesitation?
Young Adam was always an obedient child. Some-thing in him shrank from violence, from contention, from the silent shrieking tensions that can rip at a house.
He contributed to the quiet he wished for by offering no violence, no contention, and to do this he had to retire into secretness, since there is some vio-lence in everyone. He covered his life with a veil of vagueness, while behind his quiet eyes a rich full life went on. This did not protect him from assault but it allowed him an immunity.
Young Charles won all contests with Adam whether they involved skill, or strength, or quick intelligence, and won them so easily that quite early he lost interest and had to find his competition among other children. Thus it came about that a kind of affection grew up between the two boys, but it was more like an associa-tion between brother and sister than between brothers.
Charles fought any boy who challenged or slurred Adam and usually won. Charles felt for his brother the affection one has for helpless things, for blind puppies and new babies. Adam looked out of his covered brain—out the long tunnels of his eyes—at the people of his world: His father, a one-legged natural force at first, installed justly to make little boys feel littler and stupid boys aware of their stupidity; and then—after god had crashed—he saw his father as the policeman laid on by birth, the officer who might be circumvented, or fooled, but never challenged.
And it would no more have occurred to Adam to confide in his brother—to tell him the hunger, the gray dreams, the plans and silent pleasures that lay at the back of the tunneled eyes—than to share his thoughts with a lovely tree or a pheasant in flight.
Toward Alice Trask, Adam concealed a feeling that was akin to a warm shame. She was not his mother—that he knew because he had been told many times. Not from things said but from the tone in which other things were said, he knew that he had once had a mother and that she had done some shameful thing, such as forgetting the chickens or missing the target on the range in the woodlot.
And as a result of her fault she was not here. Adam thought sometimes that if he could only find out what sin it was she had committed, why, he would sin it too—and not be here. Alice treated the boys equally, washed them and fed them, and left everything else to their father, who had let it be known clearly and with finality that training the boys physically and mentally was his exclusive province.
Even praise and reprimand he would not delegate. Alice never complained, quarreled, laughed, or cried. Her mouth was trained to a line that concealed nothing and offered nothing too. But once when Adam was quite small he wandered silently into the kitchen.
Alice did not see him. She was darning socks and she was smiling. Adam retired secretly and walked out of the house and into the woodlot to a sheltered place behind a stump that he knew well. He settled deep between the protecting roots. Adam was as shocked as though he had come upon her naked. He breathed excitedly, high against his throat.
For Alice had been naked— she had been smiling. He wondered how she had dared such wantonness. And he ached toward her with a longing that was passionate and hot.
He did not know what it was about, but all the long lack of holding, of rocking, of caressing, the hunger for breast and nipple, and the softness of a lap, and the voice-tone of love and compassion, and the sweet feeling of anxiety—all of these were in his passion, and he did not know it because he did not know that such things existed, so how could he miss them?
Of course it occurred to him that he might be wrong, that some misbegotten shadow had fallen across his face and warped his seeing. And so he cast back to the sharp picture in his head and knew that the eyes were smiling too.
Twisted light could do one or the other but not both. He stalked her then, game-wise, as he had the wood-chucks on the knoll when day after day he had lain lifeless as a young stone and watched the old wary chucks bring their children out to sun.
He spied on Alice, hidden, and from unsuspected eye-corner, and it was true. Sometimes when she was alone, and knew she was alone, she permitted her mind to play in a garden, and she smiled. And it was wonderful to see how quickly she could drive the smile to earth the way the woodchucks holed their children.
Adam concealed his treasure deep in his tunnels, but he was inclined to pay for his pleasure with something. At first Alice was startled, but then that passed, and when she found some unsuspected present the garden smile flashed and disappeared the way a trout crosses a knife of sunshine in a pool.
She asked no questions and made no com-ment. Her coughing was very bad at night, so loud and disturbing that Cyrus had at last to put her in another room or he would have got no sleep. But he did visit her very often—hopping on his one bare foot, steady-ing himself with hand on wall. As Adam grew he feared one thing more than any other. He feared the day he would be taken and en-listed in the army. His father never let him forget that such a time would come.
He spoke of it often. It was Adam who needed the army to make a man of him. Charles was pretty near a man already. And Charles was a man, and a dangerous man, even at fifteen, and when Adam was sixteen. It hap-pened that one evening the boys were playing peewee, a new game to them, in the dooryard. A small pointed stick was laid on the ground, then struck near one end with a bat.
The small stick flew into the air and then was batted as far as possible. Adam was not good at games. But by some accident of eye and timing he beat his brother at peewee. Four times he drove the peewee farther than Charles did.
The fifth time he drove the peewee it flew humming like a bee far out in the field. He turned happily to face Charles and suddenly he froze deep in his chest.
Charles moved slowly toward Adam, his eyes cold and noncommittal. Adam edged away in terror. He did not dare to turn and run for his brother could outrun him. He backed slowly away, his eyes frightened and his throat dry. Charles moved close and struck him in the face with his bat. Adam covered his bleeding nose with his hands, and Charles swung his bat and hit him in the ribs, knocked the wind out of him, swung at his head and knocked him out.
And as Adam lay unconscious on the ground Charles kicked him heavily in the stomach and walked away. After a while Adam became conscious. He breathed shallowly because his chest hurt. He tried to sit up and fell back at the wrench of the torn muscles over his stomach.
He saw Alice looking out, and there was something in her face that he had never seen before. He did not know what it was, but it was not soft or weak, and it might be hatred. She saw that he was looking at her, dropped the curtains into place, and disappeared. When Adam finally got up from the ground and moved, bent over, into the kitchen, he found a basin of hot water standing ready for him and a clean towel beside it.
He could hear his stepmother coughing in her room. Charles had one great quality. He was never sorry—-ever. He never mentioned the beating, apparently never thought of it again. He had always felt the danger in his brother, but now he understood that he must never win unless he was prepared to kill Charles.
Charles was not sorry. He had very simply fulfilled himself.
Charles did not tell his father about the beating, and Adam did not, and surely Alice did not, and yet he seemed to know.
In the months that followed he turned a gentleness on Adam. His speech became softer toward him. He did not punish him any more. Almost nightly he lectured him, but not violently. And Adam was more afraid of the gentleness than he had been at the violence, for it seemed to him that he was be-ing trained as a sacrifice, almost as though he was being subjected to kindness before death, the way victims intended to the gods were cuddled and flattered so that they might go happily to the stone and not outrage the gods with unhappiness.
Cyrus explained softly to Adam the nature of a soldier. And though his knowledge came from research rather than experience, he knew and he was accurate.
He told his son of the sad dignity that can belong to a soldier, how he is necessary in the light of all the failures of man—the penalty of our frailties. Perhaps Cyrus discovered these things in himself as he told them. It was very different from the flag-waving, shouting bellicosity of his younger days. The humilities are piled on a soldier, so Cyrus said, in order that he may, when the time comes, be not too resentful of the final humility—a meaningless and dirty death.
And Cyrus talked to Adam alone and did not permit Charles to listen. Cyrus took Adam to walk with him one late after-noon, and the black conclusions of all of his study and his thinking came out and flowed with a kind of thick terror over his son. Look now—in all of history men have been taught that killing of men is an evil thing not to be countenanced.
Any man who kills must be destroyed because this is a great sin, maybe the worst sin we know. Go out and kill as many of a certain kind or classification of your brothers as you can. And we will reward you for it because it is a violation of your early training.
Steinbeck in the Schools
And you must not expect to find that people understand what they do. So many things are done instinctively, the way a bee makes honey or a fox dips his paws in a stream to fool dogs. When I knew you had to go I thought to leave the future open so you could dig out your own findings, and then it seemed better if I could protect you with the little I know. The whole machine devotes itself coldly to the destruction of his difference.
They only do it to protect themselves. A man who can accept it is not a worse man always, and sometimes is a much better man. Pay good heed to me for I have thought long about it. Some men there are who go down the dismal wrack of soldiering, surrender themselves, and become faceless.
But these had not much face to start with. But there are others who go down, submerge in the common slough, and then rise more themselves than they were, because—because they have lost a littleness of vanity and have gained all the gold of the company and the regiment.
If you can go down so low, you will be able to rise higher than you can conceive, and you will know a holy joy, a companionship almost like that of a heavenly company of angels. Then you will know the quality of men even if they are inarticulate. But until you have gone way down you can never know this.
I used to hide between the roots on the far side. After you punished me I used to hide there, and sometimes I went there just because I felt bad. Their discovery that the Hebrew word "Timshel" means "thou mayest" becomes an important symbol in the novel, meaning that mankind is neither compelled to pursue sainthood nor doomed to sin, but rather has the power to choose. Meanwhile, Cathy has become a prostitute at the most respectable brothel in the city of Salinas.
She renames herself "Kate Albey" and embarks on a devious — and successful — plan to ingratiate herself with the madam, murder her, and inherit the business. She makes her new brothel infamous as a den of sexual sadism.
After Charles dies of natural causes, Adam visits her to give her money Charles left her. Kate renounces him and the entire human race, and shows him pictures of the brothel's customers, all pillars of the community.
Adam finally sees her for what she is and pities her, leaving Kate to hate him. Adam's sons, Caleb "Cal" and Aron — echoing Cain and Abel — grow up oblivious of their mother's situation. They are opposites: Aron is virtuous and dutiful, Cal wild and rebellious. At a very early age, Aron meets a girl, Abra Bacon, who is from a well-to-do family, and the two fall in love. Although there are rumors around town that Cal and Aron's mother is not dead but is actually still in Salinas, the boys do not yet know that she is Kate.
Samuel finally dies of old age and is mourned by the entire town.
Inspired by Samuel's inventiveness, Adam starts an ill-fated business venture and loses almost all of the family fortune. The boys, particularly Aron, are horrified that their father is now the town laughingstock and that they are now mocked by their peers for his failure.
As the boys reach the end of their school days, Cal decides to pursue a career in farming, and Aron goes to college to become an Episcopal priest. Cal, restless and tortured by guilt about his very human failings, shuns everyone around him and takes to wandering around town late at night. During one of these ramblings, he discovers that his mother is alive and the madam of a brothel.
He goes to see her, and she spitefully tells him they are just alike. Cal replies that she is simply afraid and leaves. Cal decides to "buy his father's love" by going into business with Samuel's son Will, who is now a successful automobile dealer.
Cal's plan is to make his father's money back, capitalizing on World War I by selling beans grown in the Salinas Valley to nations in Europe, for a considerable premium. Aron returns from Stanford University for the holiday. There is tension in the air, because Aron has not yet told their father that he intends to drop out of college. Rather than let Aron steal the moment, Cal gives Adam the money at dinner, expecting his father to be proud of him.
Adam refuses to accept it, however, and tells Cal to give it back to the poor farmers he exploited. Adam explains by saying, I would have been so happy if you could have given me — well, what your brother has — pride in the thing he's doing, gladness in his progress. Money, even clean money, doesn't stack up with that. Sure enough, Aron immediately sees Kate for who she is and recoils from her in disgust. Wracked with self-hatred, Kate signs her estate over to Aron and commits suicide.
Aron, his idealistic worldview shattered, enlists in the Army to fight in World War I. He is killed in battle in the last year of the war, and Adam suffers a stroke upon hearing the news from Lee. Cal, who began a relationship with Aron's idealised girl friend, Abra Bacon, after Aron went to war, tries to convince her to run away with him.The store was on its feet within one year, expanding in two, opening branches in three, and its descendants, a great mercantile system, now dominate a large part of the area.
His conscience bridged him to his brother and did his pain for him the way at other times he had done his homework. She was a deep scrubber and a corner-cleaner in the house. Then he would know what it was about from experience, not from charts and textbooks. In the dooryard their horses were held by two privates. We are experiencing technical difficulties.
And as he was capa-ble of giant joy, so did he harbor huge sorrow, so that when his dog died the world ended. I want to know. She had a button nose and a hard little set-back chin, a gripping jaw set on its course even though the angels of God argued against it.