Catherine is born without kindness, empathy, or any goodness at all. She learns to manipulate people at an early age, taking pleasure in the destruction and degradation of other people’s lives. She eventually runs away and becomes the lover of Edwards, a man who runs a whorehouse. She makes him fall in love with her and then drains him of his wealth and dignity and he finally lashes out and tries to kill her. She survives, and crawls to the doorstep of the Trask brothers, Charles and Adam. Adam helps her recuperate, marries her, and moves her to California with him. There, she bears him two sons, and then almost immediately leaves him. She then works her way up in a whorehouse in Salinas, blackmailing, abusing, and manipulating her way into ownership of the establishment. Eventually her lies and crimes catch up with her, as she grows old and feeble. She finally kills herself with morphine, leaving her fortune to her son Aron.