East of Eden


John Steinbeck

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East of Eden: Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Adam should have been sad and bitter after Sam’s death and his conversation with Kate, but instead he feels euphoric. He goes to see Will Hamilton, who has been selling cars in town for a while. Adam wants to buy a Ford. Will agrees to sell him the next one he gets his hands on. Adam asks how Liza is doing and Will speaks of his mother with more admiration than he ever spoke of his father: she is doing fine, cleaning and feeding people with so much efficiency and capability that one can’t help but be impressed by her.
Adam moved on with his life by purchasing an automobile—the machine of the future. Liza continues to be, as is typical of her character, exceedingly competent and capable. Her strength, though different from Sam’s, is undeniable, and she is a source of inspiration to those around her.
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When Adam returns home Lee notices a change in him. Adam tells Lee he wants to get to know his sons better—Lee says Adam will really like them. He then asks Adam to let him go—Lee would like to quit, now that Adam is recovered. He wants to start the bookstore in San Francisco that he’s been dreaming of starting. Adam is saddened by this, but tells Lee that he is of course free to go. Lee agrees to stay around for a while to help Adam tie up some loose ends around the house, but will depart as soon as things are more settled.
Lee, now that he sees his servant duties are done, asks to leave the family. Though Lee has served this family for many years, he clearly does not consider himself a part of it. Lee is capable of understanding people from a distance, but he doesn’t yet understand himself as part of a community.
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