Monday, September 29, 2014

A.P. Literature and Awesomeness: September 29, 2014

Focus: What dualities have been warring inside each character, and how have these battles changed over time?

1. Warming up with a partner: Choose two characters who have evolved (or devolved, or not changed much) over time. For each character, try the following:

  • Find a description of this character as a young child, a description of this character as a teenager or young adult, and a description of this character as an older adult (if you're looking at Cal or Aron, just find three descriptions of them spread out across time since they're still teenagers).
  • Read these three passages for each character closely, examining Steinbeck's diction.
  • What has aspects of this character's personality have changed over time?  Why have these aspects changed / what prompted these changes?
  • What has aspects of this character have remained unchanged?  Why haven't these parts of the character changed?
  • Consider some of the timeless dualities at war in this character (good vs. evil, nature vs. nurture, white vs. black, love vs. hate, fate vs, free will, sight vs. blindness, etc).  At this point in the novel, does one side seem to be dominating this character?

2. Discussing Chapters 34-40 in Socratic Seminar

3. Wrapping up

1. Follow the East of Eden reading assignment for Wednesday (Chapters 41, 42, and 43); reading ticket can be any of the options you've been using.

2. Acquire your independent reading novel if you have not done so yet.

3.  You will be disappointed to learn that there is no Tuesday writing tomorrow; there will be a Tuesday writing one week from tomorrow in which you address East of Eden.


  1. What are interesting things you noticed about a character in regards to how they have changed/not changed?

    The way Cathy sees people has never changed, nor has her motivation - in the beginning, she has no fears and acts sweet and innocent, but by the end of the book, she is afraid when she meets Cal, and though she is regretful, she can’t help but be who she is
    Her hands (in the beginning, very delicate and refined, and in the end, puffy, arthritic, and grossly described)
    Aron - when he is young, he has a “pre-conceptualized” idea of how things are going to be (life with Abra), ie Adam’s blindness to reality, but when he gets older, he is almost self-absorbed, and is pretty much the same boy he was when they lived on the ranch
    When Cathy was younger, she was more in control of her life, but when she gets older, she becomes more out of control and depends more on others to do things for her

    Is it possible for Cathy to develop feelings/emotions?
    Her greatest feeling is fear, and it is coming from her desire for control
    She is starting to realize that all of her evil has brought nothing good, she has never accomplished anything good, is she realizing her own corruption?
    Cathy originally says she wants to move to New York, but then later on in the story, says it would be too cold and lonely - in the beginning, she has had big aspirations, and in the end, she no longer wants to do the things she claimed she wanted to do
    She has just created misery for people in her life

    Page 470 - the lean-to she has moved into. Lightness vs. darkness, the idea of light burning her eyes, and the protection from the light
    She keeping the lights off - she isn’t really hurt by the light, she is just afraid of it - she feels safe in the dark, she can cover up the things she does not want to see or deal with
    It offers her a place to retreat - her seclusion is symbolic that she must always be separated, she is in her own dark place, she cannot relate to anyone else
    As she grows older, does she have the potential of feeling things?
    Kate’s appearance deteriorates, so she tries to shut that out and therefore hides from it in the dark
    She cannot let the light come in, the dark is very symbolic of evil - she wishes to hide in who she thinks she is
    Kate is not like a normal person, most people are afraid of the dark, but she is afraid of the light
    The darkness around her seems to increase from the beginning of the novel to the present - now she is completely dark and alone

  2. She wouldn’t let them remove the sheets from the windows after the twins were born - she has always had a fear of the light
    She cannot hide from the room being gray - she has lived her whole life not in the gray, but in black or the white - now, she must live her life they way that everyone else has to

    Cal: How has he changed/not changed?
    When he was young, he accepted fate, but now he is moving more towards the idea of free will, and he is trying to choose not to be evil
    Cal has the potential to be evil, but now he is trying to become more good - the idea of free will is allowing him to choose light over dark (symbolism)
    Cal is making an effort to be nicer to Aron - in the beginning, Cal was like Charles, and Aron was like Adam, but now they are becoming different and have their own bond - maybe breaking the idea of fate?
    When Cal is older, he prays to God “Don’t make me be mean” - he doesn’t realize his own free will, but later in the book, he does and strives to be good
    Good vs. evil - Cal didn’t realize he was in charge of his destiny, but now he is trying to change his own fate for the better (good)
    Adam - the boys strive for his affection, if he just gives Cal the feeling that he loves him, Cal will be fine - Cal feels like second-best when compared to Aron,and thinks that his dad loves his brother more
    Why is Cal able to talk about Aron with Kate, but not Adam?
    He needs to take care of the good in the family (good vs evil), so he feels he has a duty to protect them
    Do you think Cal’s decision to hide Cathy from Aron will benefit them in the long run?
    Eventually Aron will find out who his mother is, and that his brother and father have lived to him, and he will become disillusioned or force himself to not recognize the fact that she still exists
    He will not handle it well, he will be angry
    How will he find out?
    Cal might tell him
    He already has evidence that his mother is still alive, but if he finds out, he will deny it because he would not be able to deal with it
    In the Bible, Aaron was Moses’ brother - he makes one mistake?

    Good vs. evil is one of the main ideas, but it is not always clear - the reader has to define the struggle
    Liked discussion of Cathy more in depth today
    It is interesting thinking about Aron and whether or not he can hold onto his innocence forever?
    The part describing Kate’s sickness is interesting
    Liked the warm-up (dualities) and the role it played in discussion
    The quote on 461 was very interesting (Caleb and the promised land)
    When Cathy first meets Cal, the way she recognizes him is how much he looks like Charles - is Charles the father, is Adam? Good vs. evil?
    Liked how it was more in depth about Cal and Aron
    Those who are more evil, are more observant?
    Why does Cathy think of Charles so much?