East of Eden

Cathy is one of the main characters of john Steinbeck’s drama East of Eden. As the protagonist’s, Adam Trask’s wife she gives birth to their sons Aron and Caleb. Being a physically attractive woman, Cathy is however a terribly evil person which destroys people for her profit and entertainment. The author himself calls her a monster that possesses a “malformed soul”.

Steinbeck depicts this woman as beautiful, blonde, delicate and small-breasts female. Her physical attractiveness and charming beauty deceives many people, especially men. Nevertheless, some people manage to detect here inner self by her eyes, which the author portrays as emotionless and cold. As another character of the novel, Samuel Hamilton says, Cathy possesses “not human eyes”.

As the story progresses, she gets less and less attractive. She acquires arthritis in her upper extremities eventually Steinbeck puts her as “a sick ghost”. Throughout her childhood Cathy explicitly makes harm to anybody who happens to have any come upon her. She applies her premature sexuality to destroy men. She drives her Latin teacher into suicide and blackmails two young boys for alleged act of rape. Being in her tens Cathy learns to fake up emotions being unable to feel them. This ability Cathy uses to trick adults into offering her what she desires. The girl tries to flee her neighborhood being sixteen yet her father catches her and gives his daughter a hard whipping. Thereupon she becomes a model student and gets even certified as a school teacher. Then her parents tell her the digital code of the family safe. Having learnt the code, Cathy robs the safe and sets her home on fire killing thus her parents.

Having burnt her parental home with her parents, Cathy flees away and meets a meets Mr. Edwards, a pimp. Nevertheless, Cathy manages to cheat even this experienced whoremaster. After she gets drunk, Cathy admits that she despises him. Edwards hires a detective and learns the story of Cathy’s parents’ death. He beats her severely and lives the whore to die. This very night Cathy is saved by the novel’s protagonist Adam Trask. In Cathy’s and Adam’s wedding night she drugs her husband and enjoys sex with his brother.

The story’s predominant allegory with the Holy Writ is its main and barely the most important characteristic. Steinbeck himself wrote in one of his private letters that the character of Cathy “is a total representative of Satan” (Steinbeck 78). As the critics point out, to underline Cathy’s infernal nature, Steinbeck ascribed her some snake-like features, making thus allegory with the Snake.

Furthermore the character of Cathy resembles the character of Pandora from ancient Greek mythology. According as myth goes, the supreme Hellenic pagan deity Zeus gave Pandora a bob yet strictly forbade her to open it. Having disobeyed Zeus’ order Pandora freed all the evil into the world. Wherever Cathy appears, she brings her vicious “box” with her causing misfortunes and disasters. She utterly destroys whatever she can touch.

Cathy’s cruel and inhuman character seems to have derived out of her fear and hatred. Her hatred is someway a means to subdue and conceal her fear, so feeling superior to those whom she manipulates is but the only way to feel safe. John Steinbeck himself explains that Cathy is so evil due to her need to revenge other people for her own inconsistency.

Works Cited

Steinbeck, John. East of Eden. 1952. New York. Penguin Books, 1992

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