East of Eden Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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In East of Eden, what is the lesson that Adam Trask learns that frees him from Kate and allows him to love his sons?

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Kale Emmerich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In East of Eden, Adam goes to visit his distant former wife at the brothel she now runs. While Adam is grappling with morality and whether or not he is predestined to be good or evil, he encounters Kate, who has rejected the notion of good altogether. At her masochistic brothel, she reveals to Adam that many of the leaders of the community, politicians, and prominent figures frequent the brothel, leading her to despise humankind at large and reject any potential good in man.

Because of this, Adam realizes the opposite, that man's actions sway themselves toward good and evil, and they have the ability to choose their own path. Realizing this, Adam understands that his sons, different as they are, are both capable of good and deserve the love and care of a father figure. Adam realizes that, while many of the community leaders have turned to debauchery and sin, he has the opportunity to choose good and bring light into the world by caring for his sons.

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ariel-mcgavock eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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After Samuel Hamilton dies, Adam...

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