Study Guide

East of Eden Chapter 4

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 4


  • After the beating, Charles goes to the village bar; when he hears Cyrus is out for him with a shotgun, he hides out for two weeks.
  • Adam, meanwhile, is bedridden for four days, during which time his father signs him up for the cavalry. Gee thanks, Pop.


  • Not surprisingly, Adam hates the killing involved with being in the army, and he avoids it whenever he can, deliberately becoming a bad shot.
  • Charles and Adam write to each other regularly, and while Adam is away Alice dies and Cyrus takes up a position in Washington D.C.
  • Charles writes one particularly eerie letter that stays with Adam. In it, Charles talks about why Cyrus never liked the knife that Charles got him for his birthday. He says that it feels like there is something between him and Adam that didn't get finished.