East of Eden, the Trash family shows predator/ prey relationships created when emotionalism takes place within the novel. By definition emotionalism means the unwarranted expression or display of emotion and Steinbeck used this to create dynamic situations between his characters. Charles and Caleb have many of the same qualities and grew up with the same resentment caused by their fathers lack of attention and profuse neglect while there brothers, Adam and Aaron (respectively), got all of the love and care.
In Charles’ case he was push by a few events and exploded with a needless amount of anger and malice. Charles gave his dad a pocket knife for his birthday and he never used It or seemed interested in it, while Adam got him a puppy that lived with him till he died. This hurt Charles and caused him to question his brothers motives You’re trying to take him away! ” (29) He screamed to Adam after supper. But this was only the beginning of the explosion. Soon Charles was walling on him, “Adam felt the punches on temples, cheeks, and eyes” (30).
This Is a great example of how quickly emotionalism can turn a simple human relationship Into a primal predator / prey situation. Then there’s Caleb who, like Charles, got back at his brother, Aaron, because his dad favored Aaron over himself. After Adam shunned Caleb for his gift of 1 5,000 dollars Caleb, showed him his that his mother wasn’t dead and that she is a where. This crushed Aaron and he enlisted instead of dealing with the pain. Caleb victimized and hurt his brother when his emotions got the best of him.
Cathy/Kate is known for her lack of motion and her cold out look of the world, but she becomes a victim of herself. After Caleb and Aaron come to see her she Is more distraught and confused than before. Joe made it difficult on her because she had to figure out what he was doing and how he was going to do it. With both of these conflicts and her arthritis acting up she was feeling more and more out of control. “Kate put her head down on the blotter between her crooked hands. She was cold and desolate, she was alone and desolate. ” (552)And it’s not like her to let anyone control her situations, so she chose o kill herself.
She shrunk Like Alice “And her heart beat solemnly and her breathing slowed and she grew smaller and smaller and then disappeared- and she had never been”(554). She turned herself into the prey and the predator at the same time. Her emotions got the best of her and she paid for it with her life. Last but not least Adam became a victim of his emotions many times throughout the book, but overall he became a victim of Cathy. Once he fell for her, he only heard what he wanted to hear and everything was great. This Is all fine and good until she gives birth and Is ready o leave.
When he tried to stop her “She shot him. The heavy slug struck him In the shoulder and flattened and tore out a piece of his shouldered. “(202). This wouldn’t have happened if Adam hadn’t been so blind, due to his emotions, and saw through the false love they shared. In conclusion the Trash family was beaten and brutalized by their emotional tendencies. Steinbeck utilized this weakness in human nature to progress his book and develop his characters. They all become more believable through their flaws and the predator/prey relationship between the characters
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