East of Eden Chapter 30
by John Steinbeck

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Chapter 30

Adam drives into Salinas, hoping for the letter from Charles. He is surprised and saddened to find a letter from a law firm. His brother has died and left him, and Cathy, his entire estate. Adam is disturbed by his brother’s will. He talks the matter out with Lee. He does not feel it is his place to dismiss his brother’s wishes. Lee points out that without his direct involvement in letting Cathy know, there would be no way for her to claim the money. Lee wonders if perhaps Cathy will use the money for good purposes, to assuage the guilt she may feel for past wrongs. But Adam knows that with the money, Cathy will be free to carry out her stated intent of ruining the prestigious clientele. As their conversation draws to a close, Adam claims that he has not yet decided what he will do. Lee knows better. Adam has embraced the concept of free will. He will do as his brother instructed. It will be up to Cathy to make her own decision. Outside, Aron and Cal speculate about how much money their uncle Charles may have had. Cal knows his father and Lee are distracted, and urges Aron to climb into the Ford with him, something they have been forbidden to do. Cal feels the meanness rising in him again. Aron confronts his brother, asking him why he does mean things. Cal has no answer. Later, feeling guilty, Cal silently pleads, “Don’t let me be mean!”