East of Eden: Novel Summary: Part IV Chapter 46 - 49

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Chapters 46-49
Salinas is caught up in the hysteria of heightened patriotism. Adam is appointed chairman of the draft board and suffers excruciating guilt. The family looks forward to Aron's return at Thanksgiving, and Aron, who hates college, now longs for home.
 
Joe Valery continues to torture Kate but she becomes suspicious. As her pain increases in intensity, she contemplates suicide.

Aron arrives home and Cal nervously gift wraps his father's surprise but feels jealous over the fuss being made about Aron. However, he realizes his gift is an attempt to buy his father's love and that his father loves Aron more because he physically resembles his mother. When Adam opens the gold certificates, he is dismayed and sharply orders Cal to return the money. All Cal wanted was to gain his father's approval and all he got was anger. As ever, Lee councils Cal to control his anger and look to the power of free will to made good choices. Cal, however, in a fit of jealousy induces Aron him to follow him to Castroville Street, where he finally meets his mother. Adam runs away and joins the army.
 
Analysis
Adam's rejection of Cal's hard-earned gift parallels God the father's rejection of Cain's gift of grain in favor of Abel's gift of his fattest lamb, and Cain's subsequent jealousy and the vengeful murder of his brother. Similarly, Adam's rejection of his son's gift parallels his own father Cyrus' rejection of his brother Charles' gift at the beginning of the novel. Simply, God the father and Cyrus favor other sons. Cyrus favored Adam over Charles and overlooked his gift of a valuable knife in favor of the stray puppy from Adam, yet Charles loved his father more. Similarly, Cal adores Adam and loves him wholeheartedly while Aron only feels shame. Adam's high moral standards forbid him accepting his son's ill-gained money, yet he fails to see the love behind the gesture. Yet, to add a note of hypocrisy here, Adam has lived his whole life on money stolen by his own father.
 
Cal loses the battle between good and evil that rages within him when he selfishly takes his brother to his mother's brothel and in effect causes Aron to join the army where he is sure to die. However, Cal must now find it within himself to not let guilt ruin his life by casting him into a pit of despair.

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