East of Eden

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Mary Steinbeck Character Analysis

Mary is John’s sister. She is an athletic child, in fact the best athlete in the county, and wishes desperately to be a boy. She grows out of this desire eventually, but one of John’s clearest memories of his childhood is helping his sister figure out how to be a boy.

Mary Steinbeck Quotes in East of Eden

The East of Eden quotes below are all either spoken by Mary Steinbeck or refer to Mary Steinbeck. 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.
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Mary Steinbeck Character Timeline in East of Eden

The timeline below shows where the character Mary Steinbeck appears in East of Eden. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 23
Identity Theme Icon
The narrator recalls that his sister Mary wanted desperately to be a boy. She was always athletic, and once when Uncle Tom... (full context)
Chapter 31
Religion, Myth, and the Power of Stories Theme Icon
On his way back from the house, Adam stops at the Steinbeck’s house. Little Mary and John peek out through the door at him—the reader now knows that the occasional... (full context)
Chapter 46
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
John Steinbeck, the narrator, tells a story about how he and sister Mary, when hatred of Germans had reached a fever pitch, harassed and insulted one of Salinas’s... (full context)