East of Eden Section 2 Discussion: Moving to California

There is exactly one point during East of Eden where I start to feel sorry for Cathy, and that is when she and Adam move to California.  I don’t know exactly what her plans were that required her to stay on the East Coast, but she is very adamant about not wanting to move, and Adam totally ignores her.  In fact, he does more than ignore her feelings about California, he ignores almost everything about her.

Perhaps Adam did not see Cathy at all, so lighted was she by his eyes.  Burned in his mind was an image of beauty and tenderness, a sweet and holy girl, precious beyond thinking, clean and loving, and that image was Cathy to her husband,and nothing Cathy did or said could warp Adam’s Cathy.

She said she did not want to go to California, and he did not listen, because his Cathy took his arm and started first.

There’s really a lot going on here.  First of all, how terrible to be treated as Cathy is being treated, even if she is evil!  What do you think about how she’s being treated and her eventual decision just to ride out Adam’s whims and bide her time?

The other thing that started to intrigue me as I thought about this passage, is WHY Adam did this.  There is the question of why he didn’t recognize Cathy for what she is, as so many of the other characters (Charles, and to a lesser extent Samuel and Lee) do?  And even if he isn’t able to recognize her evil, what is it about his character or their relationship that causes him to put her on such a high pedestal and idealize her so much that he has completely lost the real woman within his shining creation? And, if she had not been so idealized, would he have been less traumatized by her leaving?

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