East of Eden by John Steinbeck


In the novel, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Catherine
Ames is one of the main characters. She is introduced to
the reader as a monster and as time goes on, she possesses
both monster like and animal qualities. As Catherine she
gets older and wiser, she gets more evil and displays her
monster and animal like characteristics. She knows she is
powerful and indestructible. She has manipulated and
tricked many people her life causing them to go to the
extreme... death. 

Catherine "Cathy" shows her evilness and her monster like
behavior in many scenes throughout the book. Steinbeck
illustrates Cathy as being a monster on pages 95 and 96. "I
believe there are monsters born in the world... It is my
belief that Cathy Ames was born with the tendencies, or
lack of them, which drove and forced her all of her life,"
said Steinbeck. Cathy used this to her advantage by making
people uneasy, but not so uneasy that they would not run
away from her. Cathy was born with an innocent look that
fooled many; she had golden blond hair, hazel eyes, a thin
and delicate nose, and a small chin to make her face look
heart shaped. According to the town Cathy lived, Cathy had
a scent of sweetness, but that is just what Cathy wanted
the town to see and think when Cathy planned her kill. On
page 114-115, "The fire broke out... the Ames house went up
like a rocket... Enough remained of Mr. and Mrs. Ames to
make sure there were two bodies." Cathy had set the house
on fire and broke into the safe to steal the family's
money. As the investigators scoped the place, they noticed
that the bolts stuck out and there were no keys left in the
locks. They knew it was not an accident. Cathy's body was
never found, but the town assumed that she died. "If it had
not been for Cathy's murder, the fire and robbery might
have been a coincidence." Steinbeck, again, portrays the
reader that Cathy is a monster on page 242, "When I said
Cathy was a monster it seemed to me that it was so."
Steinbeck is reassuring the reader that Cathy is a monster
and with the evidence before and after this statement. For
example, Cathy later changes her name to Kate and runs a
whorehouse. While she runs the house, she takes pictures of
all the important male individuals in the town to later
send to their spouses and families. Cathy plans to send the
pictures whether they caused trouble or not.
As Cathy's character evolves, Steinbeck changes his
description from a monster to an animal. "Her head jerked
up and her sharp teeth fastened on his hand across the back
and up into the palm near the little finger... her jaw was
set and her head twisted and turned, mangling his hand the
way a terrier worries a sack." Steinbeck said on page 253.
Cathy's sharp teeth fastened into a man's hand who was only
trying to help. Cathy's sharp teeth sunk into the man's
flesh like a dog's canines would have. She tore away at the
skin and twisted and turned her head to resemble a dog. "Do
you think I want to be human? Look at those pictures! I'd
rather be an animal than a human," said Cathy. Cathy admits
she would rather be an animal than a human. The physical
features of Cathy are that of a human but the mental state
of her resembles an animal. Although, Cathy seems to down
grade and be paradoxical about herself because humans are
much smarter than dogs, but she says she is smarter than
any normal human. She knows how to manipulate any
individual without trying. On page 427, "Uncontrolled
hatred shone in Kate's eyes. She screamed, a long and
shrill animal screech." Cathy, for unknown reasons has
animal characteristics. This one just happens to be the
screech of an animal.
Steinbeck uses Cathy for suspense in his novel. You never
know what she is going to do next or what she is thinking.
She has more characteristics of a monster and an animal
than a human. Cathy's character has no talk about being
normal except for her looks. I think the only sensible
thing she did in her life time was not killing Adam, her
loving spouse, and committing suicide. She has not a care
in the world and her only love is hatred.


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