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Friday, May 13, 2016

On Character of Cathy Ames in Steinbeck's 'East of Eden'

East of Eden’ is John Steinbeck’s most entertaining novel. It has lot of well-developed characters and drama in it. The most significant character in the novel is Cathy Ames, who is born in a good family, but for some mysterious reason, she develops the idea that there is only evil in the world, and by her own choice she becomes a serial-killer and a prostitute.

She commits her seemingly evil acts without any ultimate purpose in her mind. But she is a very plausible character. She is, I think, more believable than the novel's other major characters. In one scene, she declares, “She would rather be a dog than a human.” She symbolizes the ides that evil does exist in the world and it is possible for someone to be evil for the sake of being evil.

The people, who often try to look for an external cause to explain the criminal tendencies of any individual, are completely failing to understand the nature of the human mind. It is possible for an individual (or even a group of people with similar backgrounds) to be evil from the inside, like the murderess Cathy Ames. Being good requires a higher goal, but being evil doesn’t.

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