Friday, April 27, 2007

East of Eden

Banrock recommended Steinbeck's East of Eden and I absolutely loved it. The following are several passages I thorougly enjoyed:

"The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on man." (pg. 629)

"And I feel that a man is a very important thing -- maybe more important than a star. This is not theology. I have no bent toward gods. But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed -- because 'Thou mayest.'" (pg. 630)

American society?:

"Maybe everyone is too rich. I have noticed that there is no dissatisfaction like that of the rich. Feed a man, clothe him, put him in a good house, and he will die of despair." (pg. 635)

"'Thou mayest rule over sin,' Lee. That's it. I do not believe all men are destroyed. I can name you a dozen who were not, and they are the ones the world lives by. It is true of the spirit as it is ture of battles -- only the winners are remembered. Surely, most men are destroyed, but there are others who like pillars of fire guide frightened men through the darkness. 'Thou mayest, Thou mayest!'What glory! It is true that we are weak and sick and quarrelsome, but if that is all we ever were, we would, millenniums ago, have disappeared from the face of tthe earth. A few remnants of fossilized jawbone, some broken teeth in strata of limesone, would be the only mark man would have left of his existence in the world. But the choice, Lee, the choice of winning! I had never understood it or accepted it before. Do you see now why I told Adam tonight? I exercised the choice. Maybe I was wrong but by telling him I also forced him to live or get off the pot." (pg. 635-636)

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Good words.