Study Guide

East of Eden Chapter 53

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 53


  • At school Cal tells Abra that Lee is making tarts. There seems to be some sexual tension going on between Cal and Abra…


  • That morning Adam tells Lee that he had a dream about his father.
  • Lee has seen the clippings about Cyrus being all important and impressive, but Adam tells Lee that Cyrus stole all of his money. Lee doesn't believe him.
  • While he's in the kitchen tending to the tarts Lee meditates on the ironies of life: Honest Adam learning that his father was a thief, and Pure Aron inheriting the money from a whorehouse.
  • At least if he ever sees Samuel Hamilton again, he'll have a lot of stories to tell him.


  • Abra comes over that evening, and she and Lee share a moment where he admits that he wishes that she was his daughter—which is good, because she wishes that he was her father. Aw shucks, you guys.
  • Then he gives her his mother's only ornament.
  • Abra tells Lee about burning Aron's letters. Now that she doesn't have to be Aron's Perfect Abra, she can be Pretty Good Abra, which is who she wants to be.
  • Also, Abra and Cal have made a date for when the azaleas bloom.
  • Her parents still don't like the Trasks though. Lee suggests that she tell them that Aron just inherited over a hundred thousand dollars—though she might want to skip over the bit about where it came from.


  • Cal walks Abra home. Afterward he wanders around the deserted streets, comes upon Tom the constable and tells him about Aron enlisting and burning the fifteen thousand dollars like it's no big deal.
  • He wonders about where Kate is buried, and briefly toys with the idea of putting flowers on her grave.