Nature Vs. Nurture In John Steinbeck's East Of Eden

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Nature versus nurture—hereditary factors versus the way in which someone is raised—is a long-held debate within the field of psychology. In John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, Lee is a Chinese servant in America, a western society, whose parentage instill the values of their ancestral land throughout his childhood, influencing the way he responds to various situations and relates to other individuals. Although Lee is a skilled social interpreter, he chooses to defy against societal stigmas of choppy English and a stereotypical Chinese hairstyle, while continuing to practice and recognize the values of his ancestors. Through his comprehensive dedication to cultural studies, Lee encounters a group of Chinese philosophers whom he seeks assistance…show more content…
Conforming to the nativist social connotation and behaviors regarding Chinese-Americans for the greater portion of his life, Lee expresses that he maintains his exaggerated façade and weak language as “it’s more than a convenience. It’s even more than self-protection. Mostly [he has] to use it to be understood at all” (161). As a socially adept man, Lee recognizes the mental confinements of which his Western counterparts restrict themselves. Therefore, for an impressive yet excessive number of years, he limits the complexity of his language with his superiors to pidgin speech, a rough and simplistic form of English. Reflecting upon a plausible rationale for this decision, Lee justifies his continuous use of pidgin because he feels that “it’s a matter of what is expected. You look into a man’s eyes, you see that he expects pidgin and a shuffle, so you speak pidgin and shuffle” (162). In articulating his logic, Lee exemplifies his exquisite expertise and intrinsic knowledge is beyond that of those individuals who boast a western heritage and core values. Despite being born in America, Lee’s connections with Eastern philosophy and spiritualism entirely negate the potential of people considering him a native westerner. However, he ultimately rejects his social foreign ties by shedding his choppy…show more content…
Although a troublesome and lengthy quest, Lee finds success in seeking out the meaning of timshel and implementing its significance as the core of his upbringing centralizes itself upon the principles of honesty and integrity. Recounting his parents’ journey of hard labor in America, Lee recognizes how “it did not occur to them to run away once they were in America for they were honorable people and they had signed the contract” (354). Regardless of their geographical location, Lee’s parents maintain their values and morals which demonstrates utmost integrity and respectable truthfulness. Obligated to endure brutal hardships and intense labor, the couple practices impressive dignity through fulfilling their legal commitment. Therefore, Lee’s parents raise their son in a similar likeness to their own characteristics, and he transforms into a man of righteous character, striving to eliminate relational complications because he has “a respect that amounted to reverence for the truth, he had also its natural opposite, a loathing of a lie” (427). Due to his devout stature and intentional neutral stance, Lee aids those struggling with the western concepts of greed, immorality, and selfishness. Beyond his tangible personal hobbies, he actively participates in teaching and guiding others

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