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View Diary: Gay Marriage in John Steinbeck's East of Eden (52 comments)

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  •  It's been decades since I read it, but... (5+ / 0-)

    ...the thing I remember most about East of Eden is Lee. I didn't think of it consciously as gay material, but it's interesting to me that he is what has stuck in my big gay memory.

      The surprise when he speaks (in English) for the first time;  and the story of his origin -- the cross-dressed mother, the gang rape, the shamed men raising him -- stunning.  

    I feel like all the analyses so far in this diary and comments are at least a little bit true.  There's a lot in there.  

    Thanks for posting this.  I remember loving that book.

    •  Sorry, I disagree... I believe most of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nulwee, 57andFemale

      the "analyses" you refer to are shallow and not well thought out, and seem to all forget that this was written in 1950 and depicted mores and attitudes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

      Lee's Mother a cross-dresser?!?!?  Lee's mother tried to pass as a man so she could work on the railroad... when discovered, she was raped by the men she worked with, and her rape resulted in the pregnancy that created Lee.  

      And how do the "shamed men" raising him relate to homosexuality?

      It's also interesting that none of the comments refer to the book's obviously much larger themes -- good vs. evil, "depravity, beneficence, love, and the struggle for acceptance, greatness, and the capacity for self-destruction and especially of guilt and freedom." http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by ceebee7 on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 04:57:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You misunderstsand me. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LuvSet

        Perhaps I was unclear.  None of what I cited in Lee's back story was meant to relate at all to the topic of homosexuality.  I meant only to relate how vividly that back story remained in my memory all these years later, even as many other more central aspects of the story have faded.

        I didn't say, and didn't mean to imply, that his mother was what we in our day think of as a cross-dresser.  I said she was cross-dressed -- which I well know was for the very reasons you stated, to pass as a man and work in an all-male camp.

        Mentioning the shamed men who helped to raise him had no bearing on the question of sexuality whatsoever.  I just found it moving.

      •  Incorrect (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LuvSet

        The pregnancy was from her husband. She was pregnant on the sea voyage. The rape resulted in Lee's early birth.

        God, this discussion brings back so many things. And most do involve Lee. The tale about the Chinese elders approaching a rabbi and studying Hebrew. The scene late in the book where Lee gives his mother's only ornament to Abra.

        And Timshel.

        Can we all agree it's a terrific book?

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