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And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing

in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. Here, the narrator declares his belief that the power of free will within the confines of the human mind is the most precious of our capabilities. He also proclaims his intent to fight against any force that threatens to hinder or constrain the freedom of the individual, be it ideological, religious, political, or otherwise. In highlighting the importance of free choice early in the novel, the narrator foreshadows the idea of timshel, or freedom to choose between good and evil, which will become the main theme in East of Eden. Although Cal and other characters struggle with this problem throughout the course of the novel, in these words, the narrator gives us hope early in the novel, suggesting that good will triumph.

Adam asked, Do you know where your brother is? No, I dont, said Cal. He hasnt been home for two nights. Where is he? How do I know? said Cal. Am I supposed to look after him? This altercation between Cal and his father is a direct parallel with the exchange between God and Cain which appears in the book of Genesis in the Bible. After Cain murders Abel, God realizes that Abel is missing and asks Cain where his brother is. Cain retorts, I know not; am I my brothers keeper? Adam and Cals almost exact re-enactment of this conversation links them explicitly to the biblical story and cements Cal and Aron, respectively, as surrogates for Cain and Abel. Of course, both stories contain differences; while Cain murders Abel, Cal only causes Arons death indirectly. Similarly, whereas Cain is banished for his crime, Cal encounters forgiveness and redemption in his fathers blessing at the end of the novel, and goes on to a better life. In this way, Cal, though similar to Cain, overturns the biblical story and, in the end, demonstrates that he has the power to choose good over evil. Thus both the beginning and the end provide us with hope for the redemption of mankind.

"He developed a love for poor people he could not have conceived if he had not been poor himself." Above is but a small example of Adam Trasks innate goodness. As he roams the American West after his army enlistment, he gains insight into social conditions across the area and, while feeling above them, feels a kinship with the struggling citizens.