East of Eden Section 1 Discussion: Cathy/Monsters Born to Human Parents

I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents…. And just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or a malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul?

This section gives me creepy chills every time I read it, and yet it is one of my favorite parts of the entire book.  It is the one piece of Steinbeck’s prose that I can tell you exactly where it came from in the book.  Beginning of chapter 8, of course!

What is it that gives this section its power?  Are there some people really born as monsters?  Was Cathy one of them?  What about Charles? If they weren’t born like that, how did they come to be like that?

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