East of Eden, by John Steinbeck Essay

Un-naturalisticWhen discussing John Steinbeck’s “Great American Novel,” East of Eden, many obvious topics come to mind. Steinbeck’s many biblical allegories to Genesis, more specifically “Adam and Eve”, “Cain and Abel”, and even “Pandora’s Box” come to mind. But, if a reader really wants Steinbeck’s story to come alive, it is important to not look past the allegories and Steinbeck’s running themes of good overcoming evil, but to look deeper into how he used them to develop his story in a non conventional way. To do this, it is important to look at how Steinbeck was classified as a writer and how he took his classification and challenged his readers to see through and look further in to the text. Throughout the next few pages, I will explain, using Steinbeck’s novel, East of Eden, his own words about the text, and outside scholars to show that Eden was not a naturalist prose but actually Steinbeck’s response to naturalistic writing. By first discussing naturalism, I will show through Steinbeck’s Eden, that it is unfair to classify Steinbeck himself as a naturalistic writer and explain how he exposes this throughout the text. Using biblical allegories, and most importantly his running theme of good overcoming evil, Steinbeck breaks his naturalistic stereotype and shows that fate is not predestined but that many characters throughout his text are able to overcome their destinies and choose their own paths.Before discussing how Steinbeck’s Eden in un-naturalistic, it is important to first examine naturalism as a movement of literature. Once naturalism is defined, it will be able to be compared to Steinbeck’s Eden. Naturalism spanned with American authors between the years of 1890 and 1920, some dates vary as some naturalistic …

…erstanding of Steinbeck as a man and as one of the most insightful authors of American Literature.Works CitedBenson, Jackson J. “John Steinbeck: Novelist as Scientist.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction.10.3 (1977): 249-264. Web 5 April 2011.Brown, Howard Clark. “A Survey of the Naturalistic Periodical Literature ofAmerica” Amercan Midland Naturalist 7.3 (1921): 74-100. Web 11April 2011.Crane, Stephen. Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. New York: Norton, 1979. Print.Kuhn, Cynthia. “Class Lecture and handout on naturalism.” Metropolitan StateCollege of Denver. Date unknown.Steinbeck, John. East of Eden. New York: Penguin, 1992. Print.—.Journal of A Novel. New York: Penguin, 1990. Print.Panesar, Gurdip. “John Steinbeck, Frank Norris, and Literary Naturalism.” NationalCouncil of Teachers of English 10.8 (1949): 432-438. Web 10 April 2011.

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