East of Eden

East of Eden

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Aron is the beautiful blonde son of Adam and Catherine Trask. He grows up longing for the love of a mother, and his mind is not as complicated as that of his twin brother Cal. His view of the world is innocent and on the verge of naïve. He becomes engaged at a young age to a girl in his class named Abra—he often asks Abra to pretend to be his mother, and he develops an idealized image of her that she recognizes is not true love. When Aron learns the truth about his mother, he is devastated and joins the army. He is killed in the war.

Aron Trask Quotes in East of Eden

The East of Eden quotes below are all either spoken by Aron Trask or refer to Aron Trask. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of East of Eden published in 1952.
Chapter 30 Quotes

“Dear Lord...let me be like Aron. Don’t make me mean. I don’t want to be…I don’t want to be mean. I don’t want to be lonely.”

Related Characters: Caleb “Cal” Trask (speaker), Aron Trask
Page Number: 379
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Cal struggles between his impulse towards evil and his desire to be good. Cal's own personal narrative (and his treatment by others) has led him to think that he is not a good person like Aron is--he is Cain, and Aron is Abel. While Cal does seem less naturally inclined towards virtue than Aron, this scene gives a window into Cal that allows us to empathize with his complexity. Despite Cal's natural inclinations towards being bad, this scene suggests that Cal has the same potential as Aron to be good; the choice is in his hands, and it's a choice he desperately wants to get right.

Something that clearly prevents him from consistently choosing good, though, is a story--the story he has formed about himself, and the story others have told him about himself, that he is bad and Aron is good. Steinbeck shows how self-defeating these narratives can be and how they can undermine our sacred capacity for free choice by narrowing our own visions of what we ourselves are capable of.

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Chapter 38 Quotes

Where Aron was received, Cal was rebuffed for doing or saying exactly the same thing.

Related Characters: John Steinbeck (speaker), Caleb “Cal” Trask, Aron Trask
Page Number: 444
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote comes in a series of paragraphs that explain the evolution of Cal's character, which was formed in reaction to the ease with which Aron has always won over others. Cal has felt implicitly rejected by the world's seeming preference for Aron over him, and, as a result, he has developed a darkness--a jealousy, secrecy, vengeance, and shyness that wasn't there naturally.

This echoes the Cain and Abel story. Like Cain and Abel, Cal and Aron made offerings (their personalities) and the world (like God) seemed to accept Aron's and reject Cal's. Because of that, Cal became bitter and it cast a pall over his choices, leading him towards vice. This is a compassionate and empathetic way of seeing Cal's personality, in that it describes how, through no fault of Cal's own, other peoples' reactions to Cal steered his personality towards being based in jealousy and vengeance. It also suggests that a powerful way to combat evil is through kindness and love. To make someone like Cal feel loved and accepted would be to negate the forces that push him towards sin. 

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Aron Trask Character Timeline in East of Eden

The timeline below shows where the character Aron Trask appears in East of Eden. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 17
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
...spell on Adam—that he can’t leave her side, and has barely given a thought to the twins . (full context)
Chapter 22
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
...and Abel carry too much darkness in them, and. settle instead settle on Caleb and Aron. As Sam prepares to leave, Adam tell him his dream to build a garden has... (full context)
Chapter 24
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
...in to see the boys—it has been ten years since he helped to name them. Aron has dropped the second A from his name and Caleb prefers to go by Cal.... (full context)
Chapter 27
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
...Trask’s yard with bows and arrows, hunting wild rabbits. They kill one—Cal offers to let Aron tell everyone he shot the rabbit, though Cal’s arrow is clearly the one that hit... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Cal tells Aron he heard some men saying that their mother didn’t die—that she is still alive, and... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
...cover with them. The family consists of a husband and wife and a young girl. Aron is struck by the girl and is almost too shy to introduce himself. Cal snickers... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
...and gains it quickly, bossing the twins around. Cal can tell immediately that Abra likes Aron—he can see the beginnings of love forming in her eyes, for Aron is a strikingly... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
Aron offers to give Abra the rabbit they shot as a gift—when he goes inside to... (full context)
Chapter 28
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
...the boys if they might like moving to the city to go to better schools. Aron likes the idea, because he knows Abra lives in Salinas. Cal wonders what would happen... (full context)
Chapter 30
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
The boys pretend to drive the parked car as Lee prepares dinner. Aron asks Cal why Cal insists on doing sneaky, tricky things. He knows Cal said something... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
Money, Wealth, and the Value of Work Theme Icon
...with his brother, and says a prayer. He begs the lord to make him like Aron, to not make him mean and lonely. Aron wakes up, and asks Cal what he... (full context)
Chapter 35
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
...Adam barely has time to remind Lee to write before Lee is out the door. Aron and Cal make a bet about Lee’s departure; Cal believes Lee is gone forever, and... (full context)
Chapter 36
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
In Salinas, Cal and Aron begin their 7th grade education at their new school Cal is respected by everyone—teachers and... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Abra tells Aron that she has heard rumors that his mother is still alive, and that she has... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Aron is disturbed: either his mother is dead, or his father and Lee or liars, which... (full context)
Chapter 37
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
Aron takes the failure much harder than his father. He is ridiculed in school and feels... (full context)
Chapter 38
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Cal craves affection, but it seems Aron is always better loved than he is. He does not have friends and lives his... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
...too, and Cal must always remember this. Cal agrees. Cal knows he can never tell Aron about his mother—Aron is not strong enough to handle it. (full context)
Chapter 39
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
...resolves to be a better father. Cal hesitatingly opens up to Adam. He talks about Aron’s relationship with Abra; he tells his father that he loves his brother; but that he... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
...asks Cal what he wants. He says he doesn’t want anything. He tells her that Aron, his brother, looks like her. He asks her why she shot his father—she simply explains... (full context)
Chapter 41
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
...has no effect on the people in the Salinas Valley—they live as they always have. Aron, meanwhile, has become deeply interested in religion, and in the process become solitary and introverted.... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Cal is determined to help Aron go to college and to earn back his father’s fortune lost on the lettuce experiment.... (full context)
Chapter 43
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
Aron has worked hard to get ahead in school, and he is set to graduate a... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Adam assumes Aron will tell him as soon as his exams are finished, and Adam buys his son... (full context)
Chapter 44
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Aron goes off to Stanford for college, and is disappointed by the experience. He writes Abra... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
...day, Abra asks Cal to walk with her after school, and confides in him that Aron’s letter have been worrying her. She explains that Aron seems to be writing to himself,... (full context)
Chapter 47
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
...sending boys off to war to be killed. Meanwhile, Adam looks forward to Thanksgiving when Aron will come home. For his part, Aron has grown increasingly disillusioned with his schooling and... (full context)
Chapter 49
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
...gold certificates, from his business venture with Will Hamilton. But on the day of Thanksgiving, Aron asks for Lee to delay the meal which messes up Cal’s carefully calibrated timeline. Cal... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
Cal goes out for a walk that night. After a while Aron catches up with him. He tells Cal he is sorry his gift was not well... (full context)
Chapter 50
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
Money, Wealth, and the Value of Work Theme Icon
...Alice as she writes out her will, in which she leaves everything to her son, Aron Trask. She thinks of Alice as she swallows the contents of her little vial. She... (full context)
Chapter 51
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
Money, Wealth, and the Value of Work Theme Icon
Adam and Lee wait for Aron to come home. When they don’t see him for a while they ask Cal if... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
...the hall, slumped against the wall clutching a note in his hands. It is from Aron, and it reads “Dear Father, I’m in the army…don’t worry about me. Aron.” (full context)
Chapter 52
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
...They have not talked in a while, and Abra tells Cal she has stopped loving Aron. In fact she has not loved him for quite some time. Abra agrees to go... (full context)
Chapter 53
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
...putting flowers on his mother’s grave. He tells himself he is beginning to think like Aron. (full context)
Chapter 55
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
When Cal and Abra return home, Lee is there to give them some terrible news. Aron is dead, and Adam has had a stroke. He cannot move or speak, and he... (full context)
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
...at Caleb. Lee shouts that Caleb acted out of anger, and that his anger killed Aron. He tells Adam he must not crush Caleb with rejection. He begs Adam to give... (full context)