East Of Edan Essay, Research Paper
In the novel, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Catherine Ames is one of
the main characters. She is introduced to the reader as a monster and
as time goes on, she possesses both monster like and animal qualities.
As Catherine she gets older and wiser, she gets more evil and displays
her monster and animal like characteristics. She knows she is powerful
and indestructible. She has manipulated and tricked many people her
life causing them to go to the extreme… death.
Catherine “Cathy” shows her evilness and her monster like behavior
in many scenes throughout the book. Steinbeck illustrates Cathy as
being a monster on pages 95 and 96. “I believe there are monsters born
in the world… It is my belief that Cathy Ames was born with the
tendencies, or lack of them, which drove and forced her all of her
life,” said Steinbeck. Cathy used this to her advantage by making
people uneasy, but not so uneasy that they would not run away from
her. Cathy was born with an innocent look that fooled many; she had
golden blond hair, hazel eyes, a thin and delicate nose, and a small
chin to make her face look heart shaped. According to the town Cathy
lived, Cathy had a scent of sweetness, but that is just what Cathy
wanted the town to see and think when Cathy planned her kill. On page
114-115, “The fire broke out… the Ames house went up like a
rocket… Enough remained of Mr. and Mrs. Ames to make sure there were
two bodies.” Cathy had set the house on fire and broke into the safe
to steal the family’s money. As the investigators scoped the place,
they noticed that the bolts stuck out and there were no keys left in
the locks. They knew it was not an accident.
Cathy’s body was never found, but the town assumed that she died. “If it had not been for Cathy’s murder, the fire and robbery might have been a coincidence.” Steinbeck, again, portrays the reader that Cathy is a monster on page 242, “When I said Cathy was a monster it seemed to me that it was so.”Steinbeck is reassuring the reader that Cathy is a monster and with
the evidence before and after this statement. For example, Cathy later
changes her name to Kate and runs a whorehouse. While she runs the
house, she takes pictures of all the important male individuals in the
town to later send to their spouses and families. Cathy plans to send
the pictures whether they caused trouble or not.
As Cathy’s character evolves, Steinbeck changes his description
from a monster to an animal. “Her head jerked up and her sharp teeth
fastened on his hand across the back and up into the palm near the
little finger… her jaw was set and her head twisted and turned,
mangling his hand the way a terrier worries a sack.” Steinbeck said on
page 253. Cathy’s sharp teeth fastened into a man’s hand who was only
trying to help. Cathy’s sharp teeth sunk into the man’s flesh like a
dog’s canines would have. She tore away at the skin and twisted and
turned her head to resemble a dog. “Do you think I want to be human?
Look at those pictures! I’d rather be an animal than a human,” said
Cathy. Cathy admits she would rather be an animal than a human. The
physical features of Cathy are that of a human but the mental state of
her resembles an animal.
Although, Cathy seems to down grade and be
paradoxical about herself because humans are much smarter than dogs,
but she says she is smarter than any normal human. She knows how to
manipulate any individual without trying. On page 427, “Uncontrolled
hatred shone in Kate’s eyes. She screamed, a long and shrill animal
screech.” Cathy, for unknown reasons has animal characteristics. This
one just happens to be the screech of an animal.
Steinbeck uses Cathy for suspense in his novel. You never know
what she is going to do next or what she is thinking. She has more
characteristics of a monster and an animal than a human. Cathy’s
character has no talk about being normal except for her looks. I think
the only sensible thing she did in her life time was not killing Adam,
her loving spouse, and committing suicide. She has not a care in the
world and her only love is hatred.