East of Eden

East of Eden

East of Eden Chapter 30 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
A week after the driving lesson, Adam, Lee and the boys are driving the car around, and stop by the post office. There is a letter from Adam from an east coast law firm. Adam reads the letter slowly: it says his brother is dead, and has left all of his fortune to Adam and his wife, assuming she is still living. Adam can barely remember how to start the car—Lee gently reminds him, and they head home.
Suddenly Adam’s dream of reuniting with his brother is shattered—he must move on with his life without Charles. Lee and the boys are now his only remaining family. Adam must find truth, love, and comfort with the three of them—that is his only option moving forward.
Themes
Time 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 to Abra to make her throw the rabbit away—he doesn’t care what Cal said, he only wants to know why Cal felt the need to say anything. Cal is suddenly overcome by a painful feeling in his heart. He longs for Aron to love him, and he feels ashamed at being found out.
Cal’s character becomes vastly more complicated—we see that he does have a good side, a fierce desire to be loved; he is capable of guilt shame and regret. Cal is more than his cruel and jealous impulses—he is complicated, sensitive, and human.
Themes
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
After the boys go to bed Adam and Lee talk about Charles’s letter. They realize that because Adam and Cathy have never divorced, the way the will is written stipulates that Cathy has a right to half of the inheritance. Lee asks Adam what he plans to do. Adam says he doesn’t know, and that he’ll have to think about it. Lee says that Adam has already made up his mind; Adam denies this, but Lee smiles and says “Bull shit!” as he leaves the room.
Lee knows that Adam will give Cathy her share of the inheritance because Adam seems almost incapable of deceit or theft. Though he has been wronged by Catherine in many more ways than one, his sense of fairness will not allow him to keep the money if it belongs to her.
Themes
Good, Evil, and the Human Soul Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Loneliness Theme Icon
Money, Wealth, and the Value of Work Theme Icon
Cal sneaks away from the door of the room where Adam and Lee have been talking—he’s heard the whole thing. He quietly sneaks back to the room he shares 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 hears while he was listening at the door. Cal says that he only heard father and Lee planning to send fresh flowers to their mother’s grave on the east coast. They will pack them in ice to preserve them, and they will look lovely and new when they arrive. As he tells this lie, Cal’s mind is crying all along: “don’t let me be mean.”
In this very touching scene, Cal discovers that his father and Lee have, in fact, been lying to him, and that his mother is still alive. He begs God not to make him mean—he is fearful of the darkness inside of him and wishes to be good like Aron. When Aron hears him praying, Cal, in an incredibly kind gesture, keeps the news of their mother secret and tells Aron a happy story about Adam and Lee sending flowers to their mother’s grave. Cal protects his brother instead of punishing him.
Themes
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
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