Throughout East of Eden, John Steinbeck creates characters that are intriguing but pushes their personalities to the extreme ends of the spectrum of good and evil, making them difficult to relate to. Despite this, the characters' interactions and the history that they weave makes a compelling read. The parallel to the Biblical story of Cain and Abel is clear and at times, the familiar struggles of the "Cains" of the book provoke an empathy that the more angelic characters fail to stimulate. Even the evilest of characters such as Cathy, can be identified with more then the more moral characters, such as Adam, and, without a doubt, make for a more interesting read. Still, despite issues with characterization, the book pulls you into its world of interweaving stories and one quickly gets lost in trying to sort out the intricacies of relationships and human traits. Despite puzzling family history stories that will have you wondering about their exact significance to the rest of the book, the parallel themes of guilt and forgiveness tie the book together from beginning to end.