East Of Eden Book/Movie Comparison Essay, Research Paper
East of Eden: Book / Movie Explanation
John Steinbeck?s epic tale, East of Eden, is portrayed very accurately in Elia
Kazan?s film adaptation of the novel. Though the screen adaptation of East of Eden is an
excellent portrayal, one of the most probable reasons for deleting sections of the book
were constraints of time and money. Apparently the director?s choices to delete certain
sections of the book obviously did not affect the movie or the book?s plot line too greatly.
The director most probably felt that the backgrounds of Adam or Kate were not
necessary since in this movie the main theme circulated around Cal and Aron?s fight to win
their father?s love and attention. Elia Kazan probably also felt that the role of Lee, Samuel
Hamilton, and other supporting characters were not essential to the screenplay.
I do think that the director should have added a little insight and background to
Adam?s family such as his feeling of respect and not love toward his father Cyrus and, like
his own son?s situation, his brother, Charles?, jealousy over his father?s affection.
The last moments of the movie sum up and bring all the emotional conflicts of this
dysfunctional family to a heads in climatic and dramatic fashion. Cal believes that he will
finally aquire the love, appreciation and respect that he has craved for from his father,
through his gift of money. His father?s rejection only serves to convince him that further
attempts to gain his father?s approval are futile and that he truly must be evil as everyone
suspects. His brother?s rejection confirms his decision and he reacts by revealing his
mother?s identity to his brother Aron. Aron subsequently enlists in the armed forces and is
killed in Europe. Crushed by his favorite son?s death, Adam suffers a stroke and is
rendered comatose. In this passive state Cal is finally free to care for his father without
fear of rejection.
As in most cases a movie adaptation of a novel is never really as good as the
book, especially a book that is considered an epic and written by an author with such a
high caliber as Steinbeck, but this is one of the few examples where there is an excellent
effort and portrayal of all of the characters and of the central theme of the book.
Supporting characters such as Lee, Sam Hamilton, Charles, and other background
information would only have enhanced the film but were not essential.