The chapters in Steinbeck's East of Eden seem to be in no particular order. Why did Steinbeck write the novel in this disordered form?

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Critics have been asking this same question since East of Eden was published in 1952. While none can agree that Steinbeck chose wisely, there is at least some understanding of why he chose as he did. The story tells a double account of the Trask family and the Hamilton family. Some chapters are devoted to the one and some are devoted to the other family. The difficulty comes in that Steinbeck made seemingly little or no or a merely inadequate attempt to blend the story lines or to integrate the stories of the two families: they are and always remain separate and distinct entities. It is felt by...

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