East of Eden
John Steinback
Contributed by Katlyn Weinert
Chapter 32

Part 1

Dessie, who had always been a favorite of the family, was also well liked in town until her heart was broken. People had loved to come to her shop and always left smiling and laughing. After Dessie’s heartbreak, she became sullen, and her customers stopped coming, for they did not want to be saddened by her. Dessie became even more depressed after Samuel’s death.

Everyone in the family except Will knew of Dessie’s decision to live with her brother Tom in the country. When Adam told Will about her plan, he went straight to Dessie’s house and told her she could not move out to the country and desert her business. When she said the business was failing anyway, he said she could not move to the country because Tom was crazy, writing poetry all the time and moping around. When he did not convince Dessie to change her mind, he left in a huff.

Part 2

Tom was excited that Dessie was coming to live with him in the country and felt hopeful that things would get better for him. He put ribbons all over his horse to honor the occasion of her homecoming, scrubbed the house clean, and put welcome signs on all the trees on the road home. When they met at the station, they danced in joy at seeing each other. When Dessie told Tom about Will’s estimation of Tom’s sanity, he became angry, but Dessie calmed him down. Dessie also told Tom that Liza had wanted to come with her. When Dessie said she could not join her, Liza had cried briefly; it was the first time anyone had seen her shed tears

Dessie felt a sharp pain in her side during the night, which kept her awake. She thought about Tom’s confusion and decided she must guide him. She also thought about the times when the house was full of people. Her mind then turned to thoughts of death. "You just have to wait around long enough and it will come." By the time she got up, Tom was already awake. He told her that they were going to make the house live again.


Will is the last to learn that his sister Dessie is moving to the country to live with Tom. Being a true businessman, he goes to her and says she cannot desert her business. Knowing that her business is failing, Dessie does not listen to his advice. Her mind is made up. She needs to heal herself in the country and help Tom in the process. Despite the hopeful thoughts and words of Tom and Dessie, it is hard to imagine that these two wounded people will be able to make a happy place of the Hamilton farm, especially since the pain in Dessie’s side and her thoughts about death are foreshadowing of trouble.

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