A Tentative Study of John Steinbeck’s Morality in East of Eden


  • Tongxin Lin
  • Liuqin Zhou




East of Eden, Morality, Free Will, Guilty Inheritance, Steinbeck.


East of Eden is one of the most famous novels by American author and Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck. The title of the novel, "East of Eden," is taken from the Bible, a place where sin and hope coexist. Although the book has been criticized by many literary critics, Steinbeck's unique moral ideas in the book are worthy of careful study by future generations. Based on East of Eden, this paper will analyze some important characters and metaphors in the novel from the two levels of "Free Will" and "Guilty Inheritance", and analyze Steinbeck's moral concepts and gain inspiration from them.


Download data is not yet available.


Hansen. C.L. Beyond Evil: Cathy and Cal in East of Eden. D.R. Noble (Ed.), sec. 3, pp. 310–319, 2011.

Joseph.F. John Steinbeck: An Introduction and Interpretation. Barnes and Nobel. Inc, 1964

Kralova.E. Insaparability of Good and Evil as a challenge in Steinbeck's East of Eden, p.57,2013.

McElrath.J.R. John Steinbeck: The contemporary reviews. NewYork: Cambridge University Press,1996.

Meyer, Michael J. The Betrayal of Brotherhood in the Work of John Steinbeck. New York:Edwin Mellen Press,2000.

Owens.L. John Steinbeck’s Re-Vision of America. Athens: the University of Georgia,1985.

Steinbeck.J. East of Eden. Penguin Books Ltd,1979.

Timmerman.J.H. The Moral Philosophy of John Steinbeck, Lanham:Scarecrow Press, Inc,p.33,2005.

Cai, Rongshou. An Analysis of the Changes in John Steinbeck's View of Women. Foreign Languages,27(02):22-26,2011.

Cai Rongshou. The Opposite Propositions of Free Will and Moral Responsibility: The Ethical Confusion of John Steinbeck's East of Eden. Foreign Literature Review,(03):229-239,2014.

Chen Junsong on the Female World in John Steinbeck's Novels. World Literature Review, (01):150-154,2010.

Deng, Meiyun. The cultural reflection of allusions to the Bible. Overseas English, (4): 177-178,2012.

Dong Rui, Peng Kaiping, Yu Feng, Zheng Ruoqiao. Free will: an empirical psychological perspective. Advances in Psychological Science, 20(11): 1869-1878, 2012.

Jiang, Lanqing. Moral Analysis of the Characters of East of Eden in the Threshold of Biblical Archetypes. Liaoning: Liaoning University,2019.

Ma, Na-Wei. Steinbeck's Ecological View from The Grapes of Wrath. Jilin: Northeast Normal University, 2008.

Miao Yu. Interpretation of Ecological Thought in Of Mice and Men. New Chronicle, (02):16-20,2021.

Ming Li. Ethical Confusion and the Road to Redemption in East of Eden. Chongqing: Southwest University,2016.

Tian Junwu,Wang Chengxia. The Progress and Absence of Steinbeck Studies at Home and Abroad. Journal of Sichuan Institute of Foreign Languages, (02):20-23, 2005.

Tian Junwu. "The Moral Singer in the Age of Confusion: The Ethical Narrative of John Steinbeck's Novels. Foreign Language Teaching, (1): 66-69,2011.

Wei Wei. The Unique Moral View in East of Eden. Journal of Jilin Institute of Education, 34(03): 161-163,2018.

Xiao Geniu. What Makes Moral Enhancement Moral? --Centering on the Problem of Free Will. Studies in Philosophy of Science and Technology, 38(06):109-115,2021.

Xie, Li-Fang. On naturalism in John Steinbeck's East of Eden. Hunan: Hunan University,2012.

Yan Ruijuan. An Exploration of Ecofeminism in Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums. Journal of Liaoning College of Education and Administration, 27(03): 101-103, 2010.

Zhang Jun. A feminist interpretation of John Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums. Young Literati, (32):125, 2019.G. O. Young, “Synthetic structure of industrial plastics (Book style with paper title and editor),” in Plastics, 2nd ed. vol. 3, J. Peters, Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964, pp. 15–64.



14 September 2023




How to Cite

Lin, T., & Zhou, L. (2023). A Tentative Study of John Steinbeck’s Morality in East of Eden. International Journal of Education and Humanities, 10(3), 25-31. https://doi.org/10.54097/ijeh.v10i3.11786

Similar Articles

1-10 of 113

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.