East of Eden Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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Where can I find a quote that supports the idea that Lee was a good friend to Adam and Samuel in East of Eden?

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Lee, originally presented as a simple servant, is revealed to be one of the most complex characters in East of Eden. Affecting a poor understanding of English, he explains to Samuel—who realizes that Lee speaks English perfectly well long before Adam, his employer, ever does—that he will not be understood if he does not speak pidgin. His servitude is a matter of personal choice, contrary to expectations; as Lee tells Samuel:

I don’t know where being a servant came into disrepute. It is the refuge of a philosopher, the food of the lazy, and, properly carried out, it is a position of power, even love.

This conversation is where Lee and Samuel’s friendship begins, with a mutual curiosity and love of knowledge. By the next time they meet, when Cathy is giving birth, Lee offers to lend Samuel books and show him poetry that he has translated from Chinese to English. Theirs is an intellectual friendship, but no less meaningful for it.

Adam and Lee’s relationship is that of servant and...

(The entire section contains 673 words.)

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