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Essay/Term paper: East of eden by john steinbeck

Essay, term paper, research paper:  English Composition

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In the novel, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Catherine Ames is one

of the main characters. She is introduced to the reader as a monster

and as time goes on, she possesses both monster like and animal

qualities. As Catherine she gets older and wiser, she gets more evil

and displays her monster and animal like characteristics. She knows she

is powerful and indestructible. She has manipulated and tricked many

people her life causing them to go to the extreme... death.

Catherine "Cathy" shows her evilness and her monster like behavior

in many scenes throughout the book. Steinbeck illustrates Cathy as

being a monster on pages 95 and 96. "I believe there are monsters born

in the world... It is my belief that Cathy Ames was born with the

tendencies, or lack of them, which drove and forced her all of her

life," said Steinbeck. Cathy used this to her advantage by making

people uneasy, but not so uneasy that they would not run away from her.

Cathy was born with an innocent look that fooled many; she had golden

blond hair, hazel eyes, a thin and delicate nose, and a small chin to

make her face look heart shaped. Acoording to the town Cathy lived,

Cathy had a scent of sweetness, but that is just what Cathy wanted the

town to see and think when Cathy planned her kill. On page 114-115,

"The fire broke out... the Ames house went up like a rocket... Enough

remained of Mr. and Mrs. Ames to make sure there were two bodies."

Cathy had set the house on fire and broke into the safe to steal the

family"s money. As the investigators scoped the place, they noticed

that the bolts stuck out and there were no keys left in the locks. They

knew it was not an accident. Cathy"s body was never found, but the town

assumed that she died. "If it had not been for Cathy"s murder, the fire

and robbery might have been a coincidence." Steinbeck, again, portrays

the reader that Cathy is a monster on page 242, "When I said Cathy was a

monster it seemed to me that it was so." Steinbeck is reassuring the

reader that Cathy is a monster and with the evidence before and after

this statement. For example, Cathy later changes her name to Kate and

runs a whorehouse. While she runs the house, she takes pictures of all

the important male individuals in the town to later send to their

spouses and families. Cathy plans to send the pictures whether they

caused trouble or not.

As Cathy"s character evolves, Steinbeck changes his description

from a monster to an animal. "Her head jerked up and her sharp teeth

fastened on his hand across the back and up into the palm near the

little finger... her jaw was set and her head twisted and turned,

mangling his hand the way a terrier worries a sack." Steinbeck said on

page 253. Cathy"s sharp teeth fastened into a man"s hand who was only

trying to help. Cathy's sharp teeth sunk into the man's flesh like a

dog"s canines would have. She tore away at the skin and twisted and

turned her head to resemble a dog. "Do you think I want to be human?

Look at those pictures! I"d rather be an animal than a human," said

Cathy. Cathy admits she would rather be an animal than a human. The

physical features of Cathy are that of a human but the mental state of

her resembles an animal. Although, Cathy seems to down grade and be

paradoxical about herself because humans are much smarter than dogs, but

she says she is smarter than any normal human. She knows how to

manipulate any individual without trying. On page 427, "Uncontrolled

hatred shone in Kate"s eyes. She screamed, a long and shrill animal

screech." Cathy, for unknown reasons has animal characteristics. This

one just happens to be the screech of an animal.

Steinbeck uses Cathy for suspense in his novel. You never know

what she is going to do next or what she is thinking. She has more

characteristics of a monster and an animal than a human. Cathy"s

character has no talk about being normal except for her looks. I think

the only sensible thing she did in her life time was not killing Adam,

her loving spouse, and committing suicide. She has not a care in the

world and her only love is hatred. 

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