East of Eden

Set in 1917 East of Eden by John Steinbeck, traces the lives of two families, the Hamiltons and the Trasks, between the World Wars. Samuel Hamilton came from the north of Ireland to the Salinas Valley, California to build a life for himself. He marries Liza and they have a family of nine children. The Hamiltons were honest, hard-working, reasonably educated people. Had they been blessed with a good piece of land, the Hamiltons would have been rich. Their acres were harsh, dry and barren but they toiled and managed to build a happy life for their family.

Adam Trask moved to the Salinas Valley with his pregnant life, with hopes of raising a family and high aspirations of the land.  The central theme of Steinbeck’s books is the endless struggle of people who depend on the land. He vividly depicts the lives of farmers, fruit pickers, laboureres and fishermen. As you may gather from the title of the book, the novel does contain many Biblical allegorical connections. There is a character who is a temptress like Eve. There are quarrelling brothers like the biblical Cain and Abel.  The concept of good and evil also features prominantly.   Nobel Prize winner, John Steinbeck brings the Salinas Valley alive. He  vividly portrayals the life and times. He himself was born in Salinas, California.  East of Eden is easily recognised as a classic of American Literature. East of Eden was later made into a film starring James Dean.