Good Evil A Study of Adam Trask in East of Eden毕业论文_英语毕业论文

Good Evil A Study of Adam Trask in East of Eden毕业论文

2021-04-07更新

摘 要

约翰·斯坦贝克是二十世纪美国文坛最优秀的作家之一,《伊甸之东》是他后期的一部代表力作。这部小说讲述了特拉斯克和汉密尔顿两个家族错综复杂的故事。本文由《伊甸之东》这部小说主题和圣经的联系开始,探讨了小说主人公亚当性格截然不同的两个方面,包括亚当对查尔斯的隐忍和仇视,对卡西的同情和纵容以及对迦尔的原谅和漠视。 本文也从“蒂姆舍尔”的新定义;道德抉择和善恶冲突两个不同的层面探究了小说作者斯坦贝克的善恶观。其目的在于表达一个永恒的主题:善终将战胜恶。

关键词:约翰·斯坦贝克;《伊甸之东》; 亚当·特拉斯克;善恶

Contents

  1. Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………..1
  2. Demonstration……………………………………………………………………………….2

2.1 Steinbeck’s imitation of the Bible…………………………………………………….2

2.1.1 The biblical origin of image-building in East of Eden………………………3

2.1.2 Theme relationship of East of Eden and the Bible……………………………4

2.2 Good side of Adam Trask in East of Eden………………………………………….5

2.2.1 The merit of tolerance…………………………………………………………………..5

2.2.2 The merit of compassion……………………………………………………………….6

2.2.3 The merit of forgiveness………………………………………………………………..7

2.3 Evil side of Adam Trask in East of Eden…………………………………………….8

2.3.1 The fault of enmity………………………………………………………………………..8

2.3.2 The fault of connivance………………………………………………………………..10

2.3.3 The fault of effacement…………………………………………………………………10

2.4 Steinbeck’s view of good and evil…………………………………………………….11

2.4.1 The new definition of “Timshel”……………………………………………….12

2.4.2 The moral choice and the clash between good and evil……………………..12

  1. Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………..13

Works Cited…………………………………………………………………………………………15

Bibliography………………………………………………………………………………………..16

Good and Evil — A Study of Adam Trask in East of Eden

1. Introduction

John Steinbeck (1902-1968) is one of the most famous literary writers in American society of the 20th century. As one of the only seven American novelists awarded the Nobel Prize, he is a prevailing figure in American literature for five decades. During his life, Steinbeck wrote a variety of books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books, and five collections of short stories. Because of the comic novels Tortilla Flat (1935) and Cannery Row (1945), the multi-generation epic East of Eden (1952), and the novellas Of Mice and Men (1937) and The Red Pony (1937), he is well known all over the world.

Described as Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel, East of Eden was published in September 1952 describing the intricate details and the interwoven stories of the Trasks and the Hamiltons. The themes of depravity, beneficence, love, and the struggle for acceptance, greatness, and the capacity for self-destruction and especially of guilt and freedom in this book have been explored all of the time. It ties these themes together with references to and many parallels with the biblical Book of Genesis (especially Genesis Chapter 4, the story of Cain and Abel). Besides, the Hebrew word “Timshel” in the Bible, which means “thou mayest” or “free will”, has become the dominating symbol in the novel, revealing that mankind is no longer compelled by their original sin, but have the power to choose between good and evil. Through the complicated characters and family relationships, Steinbeck has probed into the complicated nature of moral issues in modern society.

It is undeniably true that East of Eden, from its publication, has received less critical attention than his other works had, such as The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men. Besides, the majority of the critical works on East of Eden before 1990s were largely based on Archetypal Criticism, Myth Criticism, Biographical Criticism and Feminism. Since the 1990s, with the recent reemergence of Ethical Criticism, the study on Steinbeck’s works has been widely expanded. In China, the study on Steinbeck is now at the full-fledged stage, with a large number of literary comments and critical essays. But nearly all their literary focuses are concentrated on The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, and the short story Chrysanthemum. For East of Eden, it has been a long-time misunderstood work in China. Steinbeck’s East of Eden is “an unsuccessful attempt which failed to tell his readers the mysteries of life”(Dong 31). While for John Steinbeck he himself, it is East of Eden that “I have been practicing for all of my life”(Steinbeck and Wallsten 408).

This thesis will mainly explore good and bad aspects of Adam Trask’s humanity by analyzing different expressions of Adam Trask’s blind goodness for different figures in East of Eden, especially the character relationship of three different groups, including Adam and Charles, Adam and Cathy, Adam and Caleb.

To study humanity of the leading character in the novel, this thesis will be divided into four parts. The first part deals with the connection between the Bible and East of Eden, including the biblical origin of image-building in the East of Eden and theme relationship of East of Eden and the Bible. The second part and the third part focus on the detailed analysis of Adam Trask’s blind goodness in the East of Eden, including good side and evil side of Adam’s character. The fourth part explores Steinbeck’s view of good and evil, including the new definition of “Timshel” and the moral choice and the clash between good and evil. The aim is to express the eternal theme that good will eventually triumph over evil.

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