Study Guide

East of Eden Chapter 10

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 10


  • Charles and Adam aren't the best of roommates, and things are pretty tense.
  • Charles is afraid to spend any of the money that Cyrus left for fear that he'll have to give it back; he can't figure out how there are no accounting papers amongst his father's things.
  • Despite the fact that he's now rich, Charles still wakes up at the crack of dawn every day to run the farm.
  • One morning Adam and Charles pick a silly fight with each other, and Adam leaves.


  • Fast-forward to eight months later and Adam shows up at the farm again; they live together for two more years before things start to get tense again.
  • Soon Adam starts talking about wanting to go to California because he's heard that it's the most amazing place ever. Also he doesn't really know what he wants to do with himself, because he doesn't give two hoots about the farm.
  • Charles thinks that Adam just needs to get laid, and says that he should go to the inn. Adam tells Charles about a squaw woman he kept while he was in the army, and they get to talking about some of the horrible things Adam witnessed while he was fighting (read: massacring) the Native Americans.
  • Charles once had a crush on a schoolteacher but was too shy to ever do anything. Plus the town kicked her out because they thought she was too suggestive, what with her showing her ankles and all.
  • The tension between the brothers is just too much for Charles and he tells Adam to go, once again.


  • Three months later Charles gets a postcard from Adam in Rio, and then six months later he gets a postcard from Buenos Aires. Looks like Adam's got a bad case of wanderlust.
  • Adam comes back home again, but he and Charles have the same old fights about what Adam is doing with his life. By now Adam is thirty-seven.
  • Adam doesn't understand why Charles insists on staying on the farm when he has so much money. Dude doesn't even want to build a new house.
  • Charles brings up the hundred dollars that he telegrammed Adam that one time years back, and says he wants it repaid.
  • This brings up why Adam needed that money in the first place, and he tells Charles about the chain gang. The two brothers talk about it and their relationship seems at ease again.

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