East of Eden: Novel Summary: Part II Chapter 16 - 19

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Chapters 16-19
During his ride home from Adam's ranch, Samuel becomes depressed as he remembers a time as a child in Ireland when he saw an evil man before he was executed. The golden-haired man had the same inhuman eyes as Cathy. Despite his wife's objections, Samuel agrees to help Adam rebuild the old ranch with the help of his sons.
 
Cathy goes into labor and Samuel, experienced with delivering his own children, is called by Lee to help. The men discuss their troubled feelings regarding Cathy on the way to the Trask house where they find the nervous Adam tripping over his own feet forcing Samuel to order him to leave. Cathy despises Samuel and bites him severely when he touches her scar in an attempt soothe her. She gives birth to twin boys and refuses to see them. Shaken, Samuel admits he doesn't like her and sends for his calm and orderly wife, Liza, to care for the newborn twins. Within a week of giving birth Cathy informs Adam she is leaving and when he attempts to stop her, she shoots him in the shoulder.
 
The local deputy Horace Quinn does not believe Adam's report of an accidental shooting. When he learns of Cathy's disappearance, he reports the incident to the sheriff in Salinas who believes Cathy is now an inhabitant of Faye's brothel. The men decide not to inform Adam so the babies will not learn their mother is a prostitute. Samuel becomes Adam's source of strength as he recovers.

The Irishman advises the depressed Adam to go through the motions of living and that in time he will mend.
 
The narrator states that in a new country, the arrival of the churches and the brothels coincide. The three houses of prostitution in the Salinas Valley vary in nature and attract different clienteles. Cathy, who now calls herself Kate, becomes a worker in Faye's brothel. Before long, Faye cannot do without Kate because she organizes the house so well and saves money. The sheriff, whom Kate likes because he is direct, warns her never to contact the twins and to dye her hair black to avoid recognition. He also orders her never to accept his own son as a client.
 
Analysis
These chapters show the clash of good with evil. The upright, honest Samuel is weakened with a fever after the animal-like Cathy bites him and he has to turn to his devout wife to cure him of his infection. Liza's non-stop cleaning of a newly renovated home signifies it as dirty and diseased. Quinn and the sheriff are cast as good men intending to enforce the law and protect the citizens of the Salinas Valley. This is especially apparent when they decide to protect the babies from the evil nature of their mother who lives as a prostitute. In this section, good and evil become inextricably linked. Steinbeck juxtaposes churches and brothels, stating they arrive in a new country at the same time. The theme of good versus evil is further enhanced when the decent sheriff visits the evil Kate and warns her to stay away from his son.

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