East of Eden Section 1 Discussion: Chapter 1

I’m not really planning to go chapter-by-chapter, but I thought that Chapter 1 deserved a discussion of its own. Unlike in “Grapes of Wrath,” Steinbeck does not spend a lot of time in “East of Eden” writing chapters upon chapters of general description. What was he hoping to accomplish by opening “East of Eden” with this descriptive chapter? How do you see what he has written relating to the rest of the story so far?