Study Guide

East of Eden Chapter 54

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 54


  • The rainy weather just won't let up, which means that the azaleas trip keeps getting delayed.
  • Meanwhile Lee has been reading up on brain hemorrhaging and consulting Dr. Edwards.


  • Now we jump to the warfront: On May 28, 1918 American troops carry out their first important attack. It's a success, technically.


  • By the end of May the azaleas bloom, and Cal and Abra play hooky to go for their long-awaited picnic. They try to get Lee to come along but he knows a third wheel when he sees one.


  • Cal and Abra have their picnic. Abra even gets some hand-holding action, though she has to initiate it because Cal is too shy to make the first move.
  • Abra tells Cal that she thinks her father stole some money from his company, and now he's in deep trouble.
  • So you see, Cal's not the only one whose family has got some baggage.


  • Lee is at home when the doorbell rings that afternoon. When it doesn't ring a second time, he gets a bad feeling about it.
  • Lee knows what the letter in the envelope says before he even opens it. Uh-oh.
  • Lee feels cowardly about telling Adam the news, but he knows he has to do it.
  • So he mixes some bromide (a sedative) and takes it to Adam when he comes home.