In what way can Cathy be seen as an Eve figure in John Steinbeck's East of Eden?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That Cathy of John Steinbeck's East of Eden is a temptress like Eve of Genesis is evident early on when Adam Trask falls in love with her; much later in Chapter 25 when Adam learns that she is a prostitute and goes to see her, she tries then to seduce him.  However, he refuses her advancements. 

Critics perceive Cathy Ames as a debased form of Eve as the first mother, and mother of mankind.  For, she attempts to abort her babies while she is pregnant, and she bites the hand of the man who helps to deliver the infants.  After the fraternal twins are born, Cathy abandons them and shoots Adam in the shoulder as he attempts to prevent her from leaving.  Further, as a debased form of Eve, Cathy sees no goodness in anyone, merely seeking to use their trusting natures to achieve her devious desires.  She is symbolic of the evil that will always be present in the world as Eve is symbolic of the original sin and the loss of Paradise.