East of Eden: The Nature of Human Choice

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Circumstances can only shape a person’s life to the extent that they allow them to. The truth is that people’s lives are determined by their choices not their circumstances. This is not to say that circumstances like a tragedy that occurs in one’s life does not play a role in shaping an individual.

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However, an individual always has the ability to choose their response, despite not being able to choose their circumstances. The power of choice produces lessons and values that form people’s overall characteristics. Over time, people realize that who they become is not determined by outside sources, but instead dependent on their responses to the outside influences they face. A simple example comes from a set of children being raised under similar conditions, yet they develop different types of characteristics due to the different life choices they make. Larger scale examples can be found in the texts used in this analysis.

Texts used to further dive into this analysis are the Bible and East of Eden by John Steinbeck. The main topics being discussed in this paper address man’s nature versus man’s nurture, and how nature plays a more significant role in a character being good or evil. These topics ultimately aim to show how man’s nature of choice develops an individual’s character more than the amount of nurture they receive during their life time. First is an overview at how the nature compares to the nurture of an individual. Next is an explanation of how free will is given to man by God and how the power free will is determined by choosing good or evil. Lastly, the focus shifts to how man’s pursuit of good or evil choices shapes the individual’s character. This break down highlights how every human being has the same nature, which includes choice and good and evil. Man can choose good or evil, because he has the power to pursue the life he wants. An individual’s character is dependent on man’s nature of free will, which is man being able to choose good or evil more than people or circumstances that may play a role in his nurture.

The significance of a short introduction into both books is important as it shows the idea of human choice and good and evil. The Bible gives some of the very first accounts of God presenting man with having to make choices for himself. Looking at the story of Cain and Abel, found in the book of Genesis, each brother develops a character based on the choices they make. Cain and Abel are known for having a long-standing testimony of brother rivalry, focused on the idea of human free will. When God asked these men to bring forth the best of what they had to offer,

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