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What is the summary for Chapter 19 of East of Eden?

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Scott Locklear | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted January 23, 2009 at 5:30 AM via web

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What is the summary for Chapter 19 of East of Eden?

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted January 23, 2009 at 5:34 AM (Answer #1)

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Chapter 19 returns to some general history of the founding of Salinas.  Steinbeck, as narrator, remarks on the fact that churches and whorehouses arrived in the valley simultaneously.  Both, he argues, served a social purpose. 

There were three whorehouses in Salinas:  Jenny’s, the Nigger’s, and later, Faye’s.  Faye’s house is where Kate lands when she leaves Adam. 

When Kate arrives, Faye is originally suspicious.  The girl seems too refined and pretty to be a whore.  Kate does not want to be a whore.  She begins coddling and complimenting Faye and soon the older woman begins to view her as a daughter and “(s)he did not want her daughter to be a whore.”

Kate’s appearance in town does not go unnoticed by the sheriff.  He knows that Kate shot Adam.  He warns her that she is not to ever tell where she came from or who she is if she wants to be left alone.  He orders her to dye her hair and that if anyone remarks on her resemblance to Mrs. Trask, she is to claim it is a coincidence.  If she ever lets on or anyone ever makes the connection, he will run her out of town.

Satisfied with the bargain, Kate returns to Faye and to her work of convincing the madam that she only has her best interests at heart.  Kate treats one of Faye’s aching teeth.  Faye becomes more and more convinced that Kate is benevolent and valuable. 

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