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She leaves home one evening after setting fire to her family's home, killing both of her parents.She becomes a whoremaster's mistress, but he beats her viciously upon realizing that she is using him and leaves her to die on Adam and Charles's doorstep. Adam falls obsessively and irrationally in love, and marries her.Lee becomes a good friend and adopted family member.
Adam and Charles's father, Cyrus, was a Union Civil War veteran who was wounded in his very first battle and unable (or perhaps unwilling) to return to service; he nonetheless becomes an expert "armchair general" who uses his intellectual knowledge of military affairs and wounded-veteran status to become a military adviser in Washington, D. As a young man, Adam spent his time first in the military and then wandering the country.
He was caught for vagrancy, escaped from a chain gang, and burgled a store for clothing to use as a disguise.
Later, he wires Charles for $100 to pay for his travels home.
Adam later sends money to the store to pay for the clothes and damage.
In the beginning of East of Eden, before introducing his characters, Steinbeck carefully establishes the setting with a description of the Salinas Valley in Central California.
Then he outlines the story of the warmhearted inventor and farmer Samuel Hamilton and his wife Liza, immigrants from Ireland.The novel was originally addressed to Steinbeck's young sons, Thom and John (then 6½ and 4½ years old, respectively).Steinbeck wanted to describe the Salinas Valley for them in detail: the sights, sounds, smells, and colors.Lee tells about how his relatives in San Francisco, a group of Chinese scholars, spent two years studying Hebrew so they might discover what the moral of the Cain and Abel story actually was.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.However, unbeknownst to Adam, Cathy seduces Charles at the time of her marriage and falls pregnant with twins, leaving open the question of whether Adam or Charles is the twins' father.She attempts and fails at a primitive abortion with a knitting needle.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.East of Eden is a novel by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, published in September 1952.Often described as Steinbeck's most ambitious novel, East of Eden brings to life the intricate details of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, and their interwoven stories.