Sunday, October 5, 2014

A.P. Literature and Awesomeness: October 6, 2014

Focus: What does Steinbeck reveal to us in his final chapters?

1. Happy Monday journaling

2. Warming up with fire...kind of literally

Take a look at Lee's commentary on fire (598).  Put it into your own words and consider whether or not you agree with him.

Revisit the three scenes in recent reading in which a character sets something on fire:

  • Sheriff Quinn's burning of explicit photos (558)
  • Cal's burning of the money (565-6)
  • Abra's burning of Aron's letters (578, 583)

In each scene, what does the fire release?  What does it destroy?

Why is destruction by fire (vs. a different method of destruction) appropriate to these particular objects?

What do these objects have in common?

3. Enjoying our final Socratic seminar on East of Eden

4. Wrapping up

1. Set a specific reading schedule for your independent reading book and record the page/chapter numbers directly into your student calendar. You need to finish by Monday, October 27.

2. Bring your laptops an East of Eden to class tomorrow.

3. Your Tuesday writing on East of Eden will actually take place on Wednesday; you will have some class time on Tuesday to finish your big question blog on East of Eden.


  1. Do you think Steinbeck purposely reflected the jealousy of Cain and Abel in Cal’s decision to take Aron to the brothel out of anger and jealousy

    Adam asks. “Do you know where you brother is?”
    Same as in the Bible when God asked Cain where his brother is

    Cal is a good character who made a mistake, so he didn’t actually murder his brother

    Steinbeck shows more about Aron through his joining of the army and his death

    Fate vs free will-there is more free will through each generation
    Cal didn’t hurt Aron directly, but Aron still dies
    Aron made the choice to join the army-his moral spectrum is black and white

    Control, your own fate- Cal accidentally kills his brother in the army- it was out of his control
    Was it Cal’s choice to turn out evil?
    Aron decided his own fate

    Does Adam have blame in Aron’s death?
    Adam is the tragic hero-everything that happens with his sons centers around Adam’s actions
    They all had an element of choice, but Adam sets off the chain of events.

    Timshel? Has Cal really escaped from his fate as Cain?
    He was never free from trying to earn his father’s love
    Cal doesn’t have to be defined by his past actions because of Adam’s forgiveness
    The letters didn't have to define the town, the money doesn’t have to define Cal, Aron’s view of Abra doesn’t have to define her.

    Adam is God
    Cal tries to earn his love by being good
    Cal not only kills his brother, but he killed his father by killing his brother
    The good in Cal tries to overcome the guilt of his actions
    God could choose to make people behave a certain way, but he frees them like Adam does Cal
    Doesn’t say Cals name he says timshel so he’s releasing him from the name as well as guilt

    Why does Kate leave her inheritance to only Aron?
    Cal scares her and she doesn’t understand him, but she understands Aron, so she feels comfortable with him
    Kate can’t manipulate Cal, so she is afraid
    Why would it matter if she is dead?
    What does she feel towards Aron?-his showing up to the brothel killed her and Aron

  2. She sees a purity and goodness in him, and to have someone like that so close to her, it made her feel something
    She also sees herself, she realizes that she is a mother and Aron looks like Kate, so it stuck her.

    What is about Aron that causes death?-he kills Kate when seeing, and kills Adam by leaving him
    Aron’s purity kills Kate and the absence of purity kills Adam
    Aron parallels Kate makes her realize that she is a mother
    But when Aron leaves Adam, it’s like Adam lost Kate and he can’t live with that
    Both Kate and Aron lack the ability to understand the gray world.
    Aron is all good and Kate is all bad

    Is Kate content with the way her life turned out?-Is there regret or remorse
    She so set in her ways that she just thinks that it’s how the world works
    It’s significant that her death was a suicide-maybe she wasn’t happy
    It shows that she is not content because no one cares about-she doesn’t have anyone, so she doesn’t want anyone to have her
    Kate is always in a sea of transition, there is always a new phase and change, she never gets to where she wants to go-she never accomplishes anything

    What did Kate need to accomplish?
    Monsters can only see monstrous things
    Maybe her recognition of good in Aron killed her because she knew what she was missing

    Kate kept talking about her and Alice-
    In the end of her life, she knew that no one cared about her
    Killing herself was her final piece of control over the world
    She knew that she was going to kill herself so it gave her control and comfort

    So many of the deaths are simply reported-Sam telegram- but every detail of her death is given. Why does Steinbeck let us see that?
    We saw the lives of other characters, their motivations etc., but Kate was distance and we only got her actions. For Kate we didn’t hear about her life, but we heard about her death.
    It makes us think about her and humanizes her
    She has human emotions if she kills herself- maybe she

    Does Kate die completely evil or a little bit of good as well?
    Does she still die a monster?
    She dies conquered by timshel, she keeps getting smaller and smaller
    “She had never been”
    Other characters preserve a dignity and a larger than life impact, but her death scene takes away her power.

    Similarities between the burning scenes?
    The physical act of burning gave the burner a sense of control over something that was controlling someone before
    Abra was controlled by Arons view of her the pictures had control over the town
    Wasn’t destroying the objects, but destroying the part of them that was attached to the items-rebirth

    What’s the significance of Abra at the end of the story?
    She plays the good of Aron, he sees more Aron in her
    Lot’s of similarities with the family dynamic Cal hated Abra for taking Aron away, Charles hated Cathy for taking Adam away
    Unlike Kate, Abra doesn’t live on the extremes, she turns into shades of gray, she’s like Cal because they are both good and evil
    She doesn’t have to be perfectly all the time
    Being with Cal frees her from Aron’s perfect image of her
    She could decide to live in the gray with Cal or live up to perfection.

    Wrap Up:

    The three burned objects all embody the shame of the burner

    Kate saw the gray area, but she can’t feel it

    pg 552- she was smarter and stronger than everyone she had something that she was missing… right before her suicide

    pg 131-the free exploring mind is the most valuable thing in the world...

    If Aron had found out about Cathy from Adam, would the outcome be the same

    Burners of the objects wanted to get rid of the past

    What is the significance of Joe?

    Family dynamic affects human nature?

    Is timshel a more powerful force than both good and evil?

    Fire is a cleansing agent, cathy kills her parents?

    Chapter 12- childhood is not as good as it used to be