East of Eden
John Steinback
Contributed by Katlyn Weinert
Chapter 31

Part 1

As Lee expected, Adam told him the next morning that he was going to see Kate. When he arrived at her house of prostitution, he showed her the letter. Kate did not believe what she read and thought that Adam was trying to set some kind of trap for her. She could not understand how he could be so ethical as to give up fifty thousand dollars just because it was in someone’s will. When she laughed at him and called him Mr. Mouse, he told her he realized that her problem was that she did not understand goodness. Kate was unbalanced by Adam’s obvious aloofness. It was clear she had no hold on him any longer. She then told Adam that the sheriff had made a deal with her; if she ever revealed her true name, she would be forced to leave town.

Part 2

Adam went to visit Liza Hamilton, who was staying with Olive. He was pleased that she seemed to be enjoying her retirement. Adam told her he was thinking of moving to town for the sake of the twins. She disapproved heartily, saying she had raised fine children in the country. Nevertheless, she suggested he look at Dessie’s house since she might be moving to the country to live with Tom.

After looking at Dessie’s house from the outside, Adam went to have dinner and ran into Will Hamilton. When he told Will that his mother said Dessie was moving to the country, Will said that she would not do that even though Tom was doing very badly since his father died.


In this chapter, the narrator reveals that his last name is Steinbeck. He has delayed revealing his part in the Hamilton family until now so as to keep the distance a narrator needs in telling a story.

Adam’s encounter with Kate shows his true goodness. His conscience makes him show her the letter that states Charles has left her fifty thousand dollars. The encounter also clearly reveals that she no longer has a hold over him. Even when she laughs at him and calls him Mr. Mouse, he does not react. He only says that she does not understand goodness.

Adam’s visits with Liza and Will serve as his continued connection to the Hamilton family. They also reveal that he is serious about his consideration to move into town.

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