Study Guide

East of Eden Chapter 1

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 1


  • Welcome to the Salinas Valley in California. Your friendly guide, the narrator, is going to give you the lay of the land.
  • And when we say lay of the land, we mean lay of the land: not only the mountains, the streams, and the flora and fauna, but the eons of pre-history that led to the valley's creation (which was once under water). Pretty cool, ain't it?
  • Seasons come and seasons go, with dry years and wet years—that's the way life goes around here.


  • Next the narrator talks about the settling of the land: first the Indians, and then the Spanish, who named everything. Then come the Americans, who take the whole settling business very seriously, and go bonkers when it comes to naming places.