For other discussion posts by others in the East of Eden Readalong, visit The Estella Society here.
Now, on to the discussion questions for Chapters 28-40. There will be some spoilers if you haven’t read this book, but not too many:
1. What do you think of the twins since they’ve grown up quite a bit? They seem to take after both Adam and Charles. How do you explain that? My book club had fun with some theories recently.
Well, Adam and Charles shared a father so they may have inherited some of the same traits from him that got passed on to the twins. Since the twins Cal and Aron don’t look alike, is it biologically possible that sperm from two different fathers could have fertilized the eggs?
2. Any surprises in this section? Lee, Dessie and Tom, Adam’s business dealings? Just some ideas.
I was surprised by Cal’s reaction to meeting his mother and then by Adam’s response to Cal’s reaction. Lee is still the glue holding the family of men together, and he knew when to step aside and let Adam talk with Cal one on one. I was also surprised by Aron’s religious leanings and that he might be willing to give up his first love for the church.
3. Ugh, Kathy/Cate. Is there anything redeemable about this woman?
The pain of arthritis is far less than she deserves!
4. Share a quote!
This is the end of the passage about Cal’s conversation with Lee about Cathy/Kate at the end of Chapter 38:
“Cal drifted toward the door, slowly, softly. He shoved his fists deep in his pockets. ‘It’s like you said about knowing people. I hate her because I know why she went away. I know – because I’ve got her in me.’ His head was down and his voice was heartbroken.
Lee jumped up. ‘You stop that!’ he said sharply. ‘You hear me? Don’t let me catch you doing that. Of course you may have that in you. Everybody has. But you’ve got the other too. Here – look up! Look at me!’
Cal raised his head and said wearily, ‘What do you want?’
‘You’ve got the other too. Listen to me! You wouldn’t even be wondering if you didn’t have it. Don’t you dare take the lazy way. It’s too easy to excuse yourself because of your ancestry. Don’t let me catch you doing it! Now – look close at me so you will remember. Whatever you do, it will be you who do it – not your mother.’
‘Do you believe that, Lee?’
‘Yes, I believe it, and you’d better believe it or I’ll break every bone in your body.’
After Cal had gone Lee went back to his chair. He thought ruefully, I wonder what happened to my Oriental repose?”