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CathyIs Cathy really evil? 

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tishmel | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 28, 2007 at 6:19 PM via web

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Cathy

Is Cathy really evil? 

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parkerlee | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted August 1, 2008 at 7:12 AM (Answer #2)

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Why would anybody ever doubt? She is certainly a victim of her own environment, but since when is deprivation any excuse for immoral acts? Neglect, abandon, promiscuity, manipulation and then murder - Cathy's choices go from bad to worse. She falls to the pits when she "botoxes" her benefactress! (Botox comes from the same strain as the toxin in botulism.) As they say, the best way to make someone wish you were dead is to make him/her your heir. 

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hiswifeamy | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 3, 2008 at 2:40 PM (Answer #3)

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She is evil

Steinbeck wanted to stereotype her in the most mean way possible.  She from an early age showed signs of intelligence, and her intelligence led her to the perfect scheme to kill her parents.  It also helped her realize how much of a temptress she could be and thus helped her become a prostitute.  Her intelligence leads her to do these immoral acts. But I digress.  Steinbeck intended to characterize her as evil, but she isnt totally evil, there were moments of good.  So much so that your narrator(Steinbeck)often changes his opinion about her.  She has a belief that only evil exists in the world.

Cathy sees Evil, hears evil, speaks evil.  That is her view of the world and the way she runs her life, but the perplexed narrator often changes her opinion on her.  So we are left to draw our own opinions.

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miny | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 11, 2009 at 5:26 PM (Answer #4)

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What is your opinion of Cathy?

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kkays | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 30, 2010 at 8:14 AM (Answer #5)

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Now looking at this from a modern and psychological perspective I feel that Cathy is a sociopath.  Cathy shows complete detatchment from any people and knows how to play them just right to get what she needs at the time.  She has not feelings about anything or anyone, and puts her own needs before her own.

The first time that we see this is during her "transformation" when her father tells her that she is unable to leave the home when she chooses. She kills them to get what she wants and leave.   She attempts to again kill, when she shoots Adam in order to leave after the twins are born.

She also has complete detachment from her twin boys both during and after the birth.   She has a violent streak here as well when she bites down on Samuel Hamilton during the birth.

After she leaves the Trask farm, she goes off and begins working at the whorehouse.  The Sheriff discusses this at one point and says that she has learned very quickly the ways of the life of a girl in this situation.   I feel that this is not just because of her experience, but is also able to use her lack of feelings to detach herself and perform a better job.

All of these signs point to the fact that Cathy is evil, but could there be another suggestion in that Cathy is really a very ill woman who is unable to control her emotions.  Evil is something that a person chooses,  but what if Cathy didn't chose this. The question is can Cathy help doing what she is doing, or is she just a very sick woman?

 

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dharinik | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 6, 2010 at 12:04 PM (Answer #6)

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Now looking at this from a modern and psychological perspective I feel that Cathy is a sociopath.  Cathy shows complete detatchment from any people and knows how to play them just right to get what she needs at the time.  She has not feelings about anything or anyone, and puts her own needs before her own.

The first time that we see this is during her "transformation" when her father tells her that she is unable to leave the home when she chooses. She kills them to get what she wants and leave.   She attempts to again kill, when she shoots Adam in order to leave after the twins are born.

She also has complete detachment from her twin boys both during and after the birth.   She has a violent streak here as well when she bites down on Samuel Hamilton during the birth.

After she leaves the Trask farm, she goes off and begins working at the whorehouse.  The Sheriff discusses this at one point and says that she has learned very quickly the ways of the life of a girl in this situation.   I feel that this is not just because of her experience, but is also able to use her lack of feelings to detach herself and perform a better job.

All of these signs point to the fact that Cathy is evil, but could there be another suggestion in that Cathy is really a very ill woman who is unable to control her emotions.  Evil is something that a person chooses,  but what if Cathy didn't chose this. The question is can Cathy help doing what she is doing, or is she just a very sick woman?

 

Yes, you could approach it that way, but if you are approaching it in a psychological perspective, it's pertinent to realize that sociapathy (and many other psychological conditions) are not innate and are brought on by previous traumatic experiences. Having said that, I think it's necessary to draw in a major theme of the book: free will.

Cathy has always had a choice. She whole-heartedly embodies everything we percieve as "evil" partially in a significance of all of us being created by Eve (the first "sinner"), and partially (more importantly) the continual reference of her as not being human. However, she was always capable of doing what we percieve of as "good". She was able to live in Salinas for years as a citizen, running a business. She gave her wealth to the son she continued to visit (Aron) and killed herself when confronted and blagarded by the son she (well, I can't really say loved) liked.

Maybe she is not detached, and maybe she is not "sick" . Maybe she is just the character who is brutally blunt - hating men and hypocritic "goodness" and simply chose to live the way she did so she wouldn't be lying to herself about what she believed to be true. After all, Steinbeck emphasized the importance of timshel, we can use it to overcome or succumb to sin.

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wisem | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 29, 2011 at 2:06 PM (Answer #7)

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i am doing my paper research about the portrayal of women in the east of eden.i would like to ask for any thing that is useful for me.think you.

 

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