Study Guide

East of Eden Chapter 37

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 37

1

  • Lee, now that he's over his bookstore dream, goes about spending Adam's money to make the house all nice and comfortable.
  • But even though Adam has more money than Scrooge McDuck, he's bored and wants to go into business. His brilliant idea? This crazy idea called refrigeration.
  • So Adam goes to talk the idea over with that businessman of all businessmen, Will Hamilton. Adam wants to ship some California lettuce to New York in ice cars. Bad idea, says Will—Adam should consider planting beans instead, because when the United States gets into the war they will skyrocket in value.
  • But Adam, being Adam, ignores Will's advice and goes right on ahead and buys a whole ice plant.

2

  • Adam sends off his ice-packed lettuce with a lot of pomp and fanfare in the town, but due to a series of unfortunate events, the whole enterprise fails and Adam ends up with a soggy salad mess sitting on the train tracks in New York.
  • Oh—and he loses all of the money he put into the venture. Bummer all around.

3

  • The twins, who are now fifteen years old, are really embarrassed by their father's business failure, which has become the talk of the town.
  • They get made fun of and called Lettuce-head, because apparently the kids in Salinas aren't that creative.
  • Aron is upset because now that his family is poorer, he's worried he's not good enough to marry Abra. Abra, for her part, is worried that her father thinks that Aron isn't good enough to marry her.
  • But Abra is much more forthcoming in romance than Aron is—she isn't embarrassed to kiss him in the street (scandalous).
  • Aron and Abra go to a candy store to have soda. Abra suggests that she and Aron run the Trask ranch to make enough money for Aron to go to college. Right away Aron is against it—screw farming, he says.
  • Aron really hates his father for losing a huge chunk of his money and embarrassing the family. He even starts to wonder if Adam lied to him about his mother…
  • Abra suggests he just ask Adam about his mom, but Aron says no way. Argh, says Abra—Aron can be so frustrating, though she does love him so.
  • When some people in the candy store sn***** about Abra's cheesy declarations of love, Aron gets embarrassed and runs out.
  • Abra tries to find Aron, but he has gone home to sulk in his room.
  • Cal, though, has learned how to be alone. School doesn't give him any satisfaction because it's too easy, and he restlessly wanders the streets at night.