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East of Eden (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics)


East of Eden (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) Cover

ISBN13: 9780140186390
ISBN10: 0140186395
Condition: Standard
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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

allyede, May 4, 2010 (view all comments by allyede)
East of Eden by John Steinbeck is literature in its most artistic form. A novel overflowing with biblical allusions and symbolism, East of Eden is a perfect mix of intriguing and complex characters as well as relevant and timeless themes. The novel is set in the fertile farmlands of the Salinas Valley in Northern California. Steinbeck portrays the lives of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons as they recreate the stories of Cain and Abel and Adam and Eve. By incorporating one of the most evil characters created in literature, Steinbeck manipulates his characters to demonstrate the never-ending struggle between good and evil and how good will prevail, if only we will choose it.
Biblical allusions are a central part to the novel as a whole. The story of Cain and Abel in particular is a motif that reappears throughout the book. In reenacting this well known story, Steinbeck explores the fragile existence between love and rejection. Like Cain, Steinbeck’s characters, Charles and Caleb, experience rejection at the hands of their fathers. The jealousy created by this rejection causes these characters to commit acts of violence or revenge. By making an ancient and well known story the central thematic focus of his novel, Steinbeck appeals to a broad audience while conveying challenging yet lasting themes and characters.
Steinbeck’s complex characters are part of what makes East of Eden the successful piece of literature that it is. His characters do not only fit the molds of the characters in the biblical stories, but also fill numerous other important roles. Some symbolize broad concepts, such as life or evilness, others are used as givers of information and are portrayed as wise and all knowing, and still others have the role of demonstrating the internal struggles of identity and the cruelties of love. But no matter what the role, all of Steinbeck’s characters play a part in developing the central theme of choosing to live a life of good, or one of evil, a theme that has been relevant for hundreds of years.
As long as the struggle between good and evil endures, East of Eden will hold relevance in the world of literature. The point that makes this novel unique in its depiction of the age-old concept is its original interpretation and its overall message. Steinbeck modernizes this struggle and applies it to a set of characters that are relatable to the audience. Characters are the chess pieces in this interpretation of good vs. evil. They are manipulated experience the event, go through a given situation, or demonstrate to the audience a certain symbolic meaning. On top of these unique interpretations of the ancient concept, Steinbeck also puts his own twist on the overall message of this struggle. He believes that it is not merely that good should and will prevail, but that we have a choice. We have a choice in which path to choose and which will triumph over the other. Due to the fascinating symbolism, characters, and thematic concepts, my evaluation of East of Eden is one of optimism.
Steinbeck controls elements such as plot, characters, and symbolism to keep the novel intriguing and engaging. Readers must play an active role while reading in order to understand the many hidden meanings. This is important because if the reader is not engaged or unaware of certain symbolic meanings, they may not obtain all of what the novel has to offer. East of Eden requires that you think deeper, but this only makes the understanding of the plot more enjoyable and rewarding. Steinbeck more than achieves the goal of depicting a unique interpretation of the struggle between good and evil while engaging the reader through symbols, complex characters, and biblical allusions.
In East of Eden, Steinbeck masterfully creates complex characters, explores the concepts of identity, free will, and the pains of love and rejection, and develops a plot overflowing with symbolic meaning. His interpretation of the timeless struggle of good and evil will make East of Eden relevant and popular for decades to come.
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Kimberly Smith, January 3, 2010 (view all comments by Kimberly Smith)
I have read other Steinbeck books (Grapes of Wrath, and To a God Unknown) and enjoyed them, but this one is my favorite, and is also possibly the most enjoyable book I have ever read. The characters are very interesting, and the story itself is superb. Steinbeck has a way with detail that pulls you into his stories...he makes you feel like you're right alongside his characters, watching every moment unfold before your eyes. East of Eden is a rich story with a profound undertone.
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Denise Barnett, July 23, 2008 (view all comments by Denise Barnett)
I know this is an established literary classic but I just have to say this is an AWESOME book. Steinbeck never wastes his words. Every sentence and description is perfect - you can SEE Salinas as you read. The story is weird, wonderful and full of twists.
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Product Details

Wyatt, David
Wyatt, David
Introduction by:
Wyatt, David
Wyatt, David
Poe, Richard
Steinbeck, John
Wyatt, David
Penguin Books
New York :
American fiction (fictional works by one author)
Fathers and sons
Domestic fiction
Salinas River Valley (Calif.) Fiction.
Salinas River Valley
General Fiction
Historical fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Penguin Twentieth Century Classics
Series Volume:
v. 10, no. 2
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
7.75x5.10x1.16 in. 1.01 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Featured Titles

East of Eden (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 640 pages Penguin Books - English 9780140186390 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I was once told a good novel will set its tenor by the end of its first page, so lately I've been skimming the first page of prospective reads to test this theory. When I did this with Steinbeck's East of Eden, I couldn't stop; the assault of great writing never let up, and I knew I was irretrievably in for the long haul. No one writes exactly like Steinbeck, and this century-spanning book about two families in California's Salinas Valley finds the writer at his culminating genius (Steinbeck said, "I think everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for [East of Eden]."). His prose is vivid, fine, and panoramic in vision; his characters are so richly cast that he's capable of inducing a genuine sense of the glories and tragedies they experience. I read this book so compulsively (I stayed up till 4:00 a.m. one night / cancelled dates with friends / ate soup from a can) that I'm almost mad at myself for not savoring it more slowly, but there's ample consolation in Steinbeck's prolific career for any of his insatiable, expectant readers. Good follow-up read: Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters.

"Synopsis" by ,
The masterpiece of Steinbeck's later years, East of Eden is the powerful and vastly ambitious novel that is both family saga and a modern retelling of the book of Genesis.
"Synopsis" by , Today, nearly forty years after his death, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck remains one of Americ‛s greatest writers and cultural figures. We have begun publishing his many works for the first time as blackspine Penguin Classics featuring eye-catching, newly commissioned art. This season we continue with the seven spectacular and influential books East of Eden, Cannery Row, In Dubious Battle, The Long Valley, The Moon Is Down, The Pastures of Heaven, and Tortilla Flat. Penguin Classics is proud to present these seminal works to a new generation of readers—and to the many who revisit them again and again.
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