Study Guide

East of Eden Chapter 32

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 32


  • Dessie is everybody's favorite. Take Mrs. Clarence Morrison—she goes to Dessie's just to hang out, and it puts her in a good mood for days because Dessie is so hilarious about everything. Mrs. Morrison being in a good mood means that her kids and Mr. Morrison also catch her good mood, so Dessie is like a good vibes fever for the entire town.
  • But Dessie never got over her first heartbreak, and she lost her groove. Business not being what it used to be, and then what with Samuel dying and all, she's decided to sell her business and go back to the ranch.
  • When Will gets wind of this plan from Adam, he marches right on over to Dessie's and tells her that he doesn't want her to go back.
  • Something is very wrong with Tom. He's (wait for it) writing poetry. Oh, the humanity.
  • Dessie is somehow not totally put off by this news, and is going to decide for herself what to do.


  • When Tom meets Dessie at the train station, they laugh and dance and sing on the platform.
  • As they set off for the ranch they talk about how Will was totally against Dessie moving back, but whatever—though Tom is pretty miffed about Will going through his personal papers while he wasn't there.
  • Also, Adam bought Dessie's house for way more than it was worth.
  • As Tom and Dessie reminisce, they pass by a bush with a card in it that says Welcome Home.
  • Then they pass another, and another. Finally, at the top of the hill they see Welcome Home Dessie spelled out in whitewashed stones across the valley. Aw shucks, Tom—that's like, super sweet.
  • Early the next morning Dessie wakes up to a searing pain in her abdomen. When it's over, she listens to the sounds of the morning. The cooing of pigeons reminds her of how Samuel insisted on getting white pigeons because someone insisted to him that white ones bring sadness and death and he had to prove them wrong.
  • Dessie imagines the house filled with the sounds of her family, and does some worrying about Tom.
  • As the sun comes up Dessie has another bout of pain and then thinks that she has to finish a dress for her sister Mollie. But when she gets up she realizes that the house is empty; she thinks about sadness and death.
  • Dessie meets Tom in the kitchen. He insists that he is going to make the house alive again and talks about some of his wild imagined inventions, like an egg conveyor belt.
  • Even though Dessie's heart is heavy, she silently demands to herself that she be merry, so she asks Tom for a purple egg for breakfast.