Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 5:39:41 AM
The essence of who one is can be understood in many ways; however, what truly defines the characteristics of an individual? Is it the fundamental nature someone is born with or the ability and will to shape one’s destiny that guides true nature? In John Steinbeck’s novel, East of Eden, these questions are answered, inspiring what my life can be and what does not obstruct it from being what it should.
Throughout this novel, the main characters follow a skit similar to the Biblical story of Cain and Abel, the jealousy for their father’s love ultimately destroying their relationship. Initially, Cyrus, father of Adam and Charles, favors Adam between the two boys. Charles desires his father’s love and eventually tries to kill Adam out of sheer jealousy. Tensions subside and the brothers cope with each other and accept each other’s company for a while. After a while, their father dies, leaving them a fortune of money and lies. Soon, Adam marries a woman named Cathy. Cathy is a fair maiden with a sinister back story, wreaking havoc starting from her childhood. Long story short, Adam is blinded by her love, they have children named Cal and Aron. Cathy betrays Adam, shooting but not killing him, and then becomes a prostitute, the best of the best. Free from her spell of infatuation, Adam soon fears that Cathy’s evil will be passed down to his children, especially mischievous Cal. Fighting his heredity, Cal tries and tries to be good, and on Adam’s death bed, Adam acknowledges that Cal can break free from this sin.
This book inspired me in many ways. Throughout my life, the only road for me to follow was one that was carved by my parents. Not like the life path that Cathy carved for her children, but an idealized one that my parents have planned until the day I die. Thanks to this marvelous novel, I realize that my parents’ ideals are not my ideals. My happiness and the path I choose to take are according to my agenda. As long as I try and work at what I want to accomplish, my choice is justified. Just like Cal, who wanted to be free from his mother’s curse, I want to be free with the direction I take. Life is not about the situation, but what you do in said situation. Steinbeck has given me a new confidence in my life, the power to do anything I want, destiny at my fingertips.