• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In many of Steinbeck's novels, women are described as dreary housewives or montrous tramps, but in East of Eden we see the evolution of a new kind of woman, one who is brought to goodness with guidance of a superior male.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Elle Macy Mrs. Harbour English Honors 3 Period 3 24 September 2009 Steinbeck's Favorite WoMan "Behind every great man is a great woman." Feminists adopted this slogan in the 1970's to glorify women. However, John Steinbeck was no feminist. In Steinbeck's East of Eden, the most admirable female character is not even a woman, but a man. This feminine character is none other than the wise, all-knowing Lee. Throughout this novel, and his other works of literature, Steinbeck often portrays women using negative stereotypes. In contrast, Lee cares about his adopted family and his sole motivation is the betterment of his family and those near to him. In fact, only with mother Lee's help is Steinbeck able to give us Abra, the one pure and loving woman. In East of Eden and in his other works, the female characters can often be fit into two stereotypic categories such as: the dreary housewife or the monstrous tramp. For example, Samuel was the patriarch of his family and everyone in town relied on his many talents, however; Liza often spoke about how "Samuel was wide open to the devil" because of his fun-loving spirit (Steinbeck 11). ...read more.

Middle

She symbolizes both Eve and the serpent because no human with a conscience could inflict the pain that she causes. In his novella Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck uses Curley's wife, who remains nameless, to symbolize the evil Eve. Steinbeck's negitive female characters may be connected to his divorce with second wife, Gwyndolyn Conger. Similarly to Adam, Steibeck's "attraction [to Gwendolyn] was electric and immediate," thus leading to a rushed marriage and two sons, which "brought tension... and Gwyn left" ("www.oprah.com"). For several months after, Steinbeck was still suffering emotional wreckage, leaving him questionable towards women's' motives. Following his multiple divorces, it seems that Steinbeck found it difficult to create a positive female character. In fact his first positive feminine character in East of Eden is a man and not a woman. Lee carries out the duties of the women of the house just as good, if not better, than his woman characters can. Lee, the servant of the house transforms himself into the caretaker, and mother, of Adam's neglected children. ...read more.

Conclusion

man's best woman. Lee takes an immediate liking towards Abra and in the end expresses how he "wishes you were my daughter" (Steinbeck 582). After reading this statement, one understands the love that Lee, and even Steinbeck, must have for Abra; the only admired female. What makes Abra so loved in comparison to the many other female characters? The only hint that Steinbeck provides is that she was the only one enlightened by Lee through the verse 'thou mayest.' He preached to her that she did not share the same sins as her father, but, at the same time, did not "have to be perfect... [to] be good" (Steinbeck 583). Through these teachings Abra was able to choose the moral life she wanted to live, while most accepted a role that was expected. This further describes Steinbeck's believe that a woman cannot separate herself from a stereotype unless she is guided by his favorite woman. In many of Steinbeck's novels, women are described as dreary housewives or montrous tramps, but in East of Eden we see the evolution of a new kind of woman, one who is brought to goodness with guidance of a superior male. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level John Steinbeck section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level John Steinbeck essays

  1. Of Mice and Men: Alternative ending for the final chapter.

    Slim rubbed his bleary eyes and told George who by now was loading his bag with cash. "Holy cow George! That's enough to feed a village for a month," "you're telling me" replied George, "he must have been keeping it all for himself, greedy git!"

  2. Of Mice and Men - Full Summary and Analysis

    Once, George told Lennie to jump in a river. He did, even though he couldn't slim. George claims that men who travel alone soon get violent. George tells Slim what happened in Weed (how Lennie wanted to touch the girl's red dress and she accused him of rape). The men in Weed formed a lynching party, so George and Lennie were forced to hide.

  1. of mice and men

    Susy runs a brothel where men can come and drink or have sex for a reasonable price. George resists this temptation, and says he might come along, just for a drink, because he doesn't have much to spend. Lennie and Carlson come back from the barn, and Carlson starts to clean his gun.

  2. Of Mice And Men

    That could be one reason why Lennie did not fight back. Finally when George said to Lennie, "Get im" he finally grabbed Curley's hand and did not let go. Lennie's hand were extremely strong, and we already know when he pets soft things he ends up killing them.

  1. Of Mice and men - Overall Plot.

    They think there will be a fight. George asks Lennie if he saw Curley's wife in the barn but Lennie says he did not. Lennie and George start talking about their dream house again, and they are startled when Candy interrupts them. They had forgotten his presence, since he hadn't said anything since his dog was killed.

  2. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck.

    and then George agrees. Slim goes on to say "I can tell a mean guy a mile off". Soon Lennie walks in on Lennie and George and proceeds to go and curl up in the corner of the room. George instantly suspects that Lennie has brought in a puppy and says "I tol' you

  1. Of mice and men - Show how the constant suggestion and realisation of anger ...

    you can see this, when Crooks threatens Lennie by saying George isn't coming back, "S'pose George don't come back no more.... I said s'pose George went into town tonight and you never heard of him no more.... Nobody can't tell what a guy'll do,...Lets say he want to come back and can't.

  2. Loneliness in Of Mice and Men

    When Carlson was leading the dog outside, 'Candy lay rigidly on his bed staring at the ceiling.' He couldn't bare to watch his dog being led out to be shot When the shot sounded all heads turned towards Candy. 'He continued to stare at the ceiling.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work