East of Eden Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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John Steinbeck's East of Eden has been called an allegorical novel.  The story of Cain and Abel is obviously an example.  What might be some other examples of allegory?

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John Steinbeck’s East of Eden is obviously and unapologetically an allegorical novel, and indeed the allegory has often been considered too heavy-handed and unsubtle. Steinbeck himself took great pride in this work (considering it better, even, than The Grapes of Wrath – a book that also had some allegorical overtones but in which the allegory was not nearly as obvious or overbearing).  The Cain and Abel story clearly lies behind much of the complicated plot and enormous length of East of Eden, and Steinbeck makes certain that this archetypal story is never forgotten, partly by giving a succession of characters names beginning with the letters C and A.

However, Steinbeck’s novel has also been called allegorical in a number of other ways, including the following:

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