In the final scene of East of Eden, Steinbeck employs a cinematic device that he used in the ending of The Grapes of Wrath, where Rose of Sharon nurses a starving stranger, bringing to its epitome the theme of hospitality, or kindness to strangers, that has run throughout the novel. This scene has the effect of freezing characters in the enactment of theme. With similar effect, in the final scene of East of Eden, Adam lies paralyzed by a stroke. His friend Lee, his son Cal, and Abra, who will eventually marry Cal, stand around him. With Lee’s admonition and...
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