Homework Help

Steinbeck explores the biblical conflict between good and evil in his book, East of...

user profile pic

ninniclements | High School Teacher | Salutatorian

Posted September 25, 2012 at 8:41 AM via web

dislike 1 like

Steinbeck explores the biblical conflict between good and evil in his book, East of Eden. Was, however, Steinbeck a Christian believer himself? 

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 25, 2012 at 10:16 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

I certainly think that there are some elements within Steinbeck's life and work that represents a belief in Christianity and the Christian faith.  I would suggest that his upbringing is one in which there was a religious practice evident.  The young Steinbeck and his family were practicing Episcopalians.  At the same time, he spent his summers working with migrant workers.  I think that both of these experiences helped to enable a Christian reference point to enter his work.  This is evident in East of Eden, where the collision between good and evil and the demarcation between both is evident.  This is also seen in The Grapes of Wrath in the figure of Jim Casy, a Christ-like figure of sacrifice.  Such elements can be seen also in Of Mice and Men, where the entire narrative's focus is on the meek and the downtrodden and their hopes for redemption.  Steinbeck did not identify his religious beliefs as a driving force within his work, but it was evident that his faith did play some type of role in identification of his work.  I think that he would suggest that he articulates a more secular perspective that broadens solidarity amongst people and suggests a world of what can be as opposed to merely what is.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes