East of Eden

East of Eden


John Steinbeck

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East of Eden: Chapter 35 Summary & Analysis

Lee helps Adam make the move to Salinas, and afterwards says his goodbyes. As per his previous agreement with Adam, Lee is off to start his bookstore now that Adam has moved and no longer needs Lee’s help. 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 Aron is sure Lee will come back to them within a month. Lee in fact returns in only six days. When asked why he returned by Adam, Lee replies “Nothing happened to me. I got lonesome. That’s all. Isn’t that enough?” He then tells Adam that he is “incomparably, incredible, overwhelmingly glad to be home. I’ve never been so goddam lonesome in my life.”
Lee leaves, but leaving makes him realize that he hasn’t simply been a servant in the Trask household—the Trasks are like family to him, and when he goes away from them he realizes how terrible loneliness truly is. He calls the Trask house “home”—Lee has spent so much time analyzing humanity in the abstract that it has taken him this long to experience his own humanity, to see himself as a part of the whole.
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