Chapter 15

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Adam is preoccupied with the future and creating his version of Eden on his new land. He has hired a houseman, Lee Chong, to help with the day-to-day duties. Cathy is waiting for her pregnancy to be over. Here, Steinbeck explains more about the internal mechanisms of his character. Cathy “had the inhuman attribute of abandoning what she could not get and waiting for what she could get.” Cathy knew she was trapped until she was no longer pregnant. After it was over, she would leave. Samuel comes to Adam’s property to discuss sinking new wells. He meets Lee, who he is surprised to discover can speak English perfectly well, though he pretends that he can only manage “pidgin.” Lee explains it is what people expect from a Chinaman; their expectation is so strong that they are literally unable to understand him when he speaks normally. Both Samuel and Lee are made uncomfortable by Cathy but not in a way either can articulate. Samuel is disturbed by Adam’s insistence on creating an Eden. He senses that Adam is living in a dream state and wants to shake him out of it. Adam remains intransigent. The chapter closes with Cathy telling Adam directly that she did not want to come to California and that after the baby is born, she will not stay. Such is Adam’s delusion, however, that he laughs off this very real declaration. “You’ll love it once you get used to it and the baby is born,” he claims.

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Chapter 14


Chapter 16