East Of Eden Analysis

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All people are born with the gift of free will. They can think, believe, and do however they see fit, which includes making choices that mark the difference between good and evil. According to East of Eden by John Steinbeck, the struggle between good and evil is the most prominent recurring theme throughout all of human history. The definition of good and evil is complex;there are multiple factors that contribute to its overall interpretation. Steinbeck also believes that a person can only be deemed good or evil after he has died. This statement is not always applicable to all people because there are situations where a person may be judged good or evil without the necessity of his death. To define someone as good or evil is to judge him…show more content…
Depending on the culture of the interpreter, anything can be both good and evil. In addition to this, the measurement of good and evil is based more on intention than on action. Being good requires a person to have respectable intentions behind all of his actions. For example, a speech by Stephen L. Carter, a law professor, regarding the differences between honesty and integrity states, “[W]hen I refer to integrity, do I mean simply ‘honesty’? the answer is no; although honesty is a virtue of importance, it is a different virtue form integrity” (Carter 3). The initial belief is that being honest as opposed to lying is what determines the goodness of a person, but goodness is actually determined by a person’s intentions. Integrity, the quality of having strong moral principles, is a better way of measuring the goodness of a person. Although being honest is generally considered good, it really depends on why the person is honest. If he is being honest for selfish personal gain, then the person can not be considered good and has little integrity. Good versus evil also depends on the side that the…show more content…
In many cases, a person can not be properly judged in his lifetime due to his secrets being hidden as a way to preserve his reputation. Joseph Stalin, a communist dictator in Soviet Russia, is regarded as an evil person today due to his period of Great Terror during his rule where he executed anyone who he believed to be threatening as well as his advocation of a Communist government. However, when he was alive, his excessive amount of propaganda convinced those around him of his seemingly benevolent personality. It was Stalin’s desire to protect his own reputation that led him to keeping his actions secretive, meaning only his death could uncover these secrets behind his veil of propaganda. In this case, Steinbeck’s statement holds true because Stalin could only be deemed good or evil after he had died. On the other hand, there are cases where a person who does not feel the need to protect their reputation does not need to die in order to be judged. In most cases, this would be a person with integrity who would have no reason to lie or hide anything. For example, in East of Eden, Samuel always acted to the best of his abilities and never meaningfully attempted to perform evil actions against anyone else. Because of this, he gained a respectful reputation as a man that many people could trust. After his funeral, Will Hamilton says to

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