Study Guide

East of Eden Chapter 30

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 30


  • By some miracle Adam and the family are able to drive the new car into town to the post office, and when they arrive, lo and behold, there is finally a response from Charles.
  • Or rather, from his lawyers.
  • Turns out Charles is dead. Ouch.
  • The boys ask questions about dead Uncle Charles, and want to know if he's rich.
  • In the letter, the lawyers stipulate that Charles left a huge chunk of change to be split equally between Adam and his wife. Hmm. This might be a problem.
  • Once back home, Cal and Aron decide to go check out the new car. Cal is the daring one; Aron is the we-can't-it's-against-the-rules-we'll-get-in-trouble one.
  • But Cal has got something else up his sleeve: He thinks that Adam was lying to the boys about dead Uncle Charles being rich, and he is going to spy on Lee and Adam to prove it. He bets Aron that they will get sent to bed early that night so that Adam and Lee can talk.
  • Cal even traps Aron into not telling on him, because Cal is wily and Aron isn't.
  • But Aron sees that Cal is sneaky and mean, and tells him so, which makes Cal remorseful, because he wants Aron to love him.
  • So Aron gets out of the car and leaves. After deciding that playing by himself is no fun, so does Cal.


  • Just like Cal predicted, Lee sends the boys to bed early that night; Adam notices that the boys had some kind of bet going.
  • Adam has Lee read the letter, and Lee tells Adam that he's going to let the Oriental manner drop and say what he really thinks, meanness and all.
  • Adam goes to his room and gets a photo of his brother (and he doesn't notice the shadow slip behind the hall door).
  • When he brings it back, Lee comments on how there is both love and murder on Charles's face. He asks Adam how Charles felt about Cathy/Kate.
  • Then Lee gets out his pipe and tells Adam that legally Kate is entitled to half of the money, which is a good chunk o' change. But Kate is also kind of evil, so what would Charles have wanted done?
  • Adam tells Lee about Kate's plan to destroy the reputations of certain men in Salinas. Despite all the reasons not to give the money to Kate though, Lee angrily tells Adam that he has already decided that he will. When Adam protests, Lee calls BS on him and walks out.


  • Out in the hall, Cal creeps back into bed with Aron. Yeah, he's just heard the whole thing about his mother being a whore in Salinas.
  • He prays to be like Aron instead of mean.
  • Aron wakes up and asks Cal what he heard. Cal tells him that Adam said that he is going to send a wreath of flowers to the grave of their mother. Aw.

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