East of Eden - Activities

Journal of Key Terms | List of Characters | Family Tree
Map of the Salinas Valley | East of Eden, The Movie | Native American Wars


Journal of Key Terms

Preparation

Difficulty Level:

Easy

Time:

Moderate

Learning Type:

Visual and Hands On

Materials:
  • Journal/Pieces of blank paper
  • Writing Instrument
  • Dictionary/Encyclopedia/Internet

Description

Keeping a journal of Key Terms is one of the easiest ways to make the text interactive.  Anytime that you come across a word or phrase that you do not understand, jot it down in your journal.  Right after you have written down the word, you have the option of either looking up the word/phrase at that moment, or after you’ve finished the chapter. 

Write down the definition or explanation of the word/phrase in your journal so that you have it as a reference throughout the rest of the story.


List of Characters

Preparation

Difficulty:

Easy

Time:

Moderate

Learning Type:

Visual and Hands On

Materials:
  • Journal/Pieces of blank paper 
  • Writing Instrument

Description

Keeping a List of Characters is another way to make the text interactive. Anytime you come across a new character, write their name down in your journal.  Keep a bulleted list prepared underneath the name of each character and write down defining characteristics of their personality or significant events in which they are involved.  

This will help you create a clearer idea of each character and their purpose in the story, which can be quite helpful since there are numerous characters in this novel.


 Family Tree

Preparation

Difficulty:

Medium


Time:

Moderate


Learning Type:

Visual and Hands On


Materials:
  • Pieces of blank paper
  • Writing Instrument
  • Encyclopedia/Internet

Description

Constructing a Family Tree of the characters in East of Eden is a fun way to make the text interactive. Pick out one of the main families (such as the Trask or Hamilton family) and illustrate their family on paper.  Consult a genealogy site on the internet or an encyclopedia if you need more instruction on how to draw a family tree.


Map of the Salinas Valley

Preparation

Difficulty:

Medium


Time:

Moderate


Learning Type:

Visual and Hands On


Materials:
  • Pieces of blank paper
  • Writing Instrument
  • Encyclopedia/Internet

Description

Creating a map of the Salinas Valley is a great way to make the setting of East of Eden come to life. Consult Google Maps, Mapquest or a map of Monterey County to understand the size of Salinas Valley and the relative location between the main cities mentioned in the book.  Don’t forget to add mountains and rivers to your map.  Feel free to list next to each city major highlights or events from the novel that took place in those cities. Be creative!


East of Eden, The Movie

Preparation

Difficulty

Medium

Time

Moderate

Learning Type

Visual and Hands On

Materials
  • Pieces of blank paper
  • Writing Instrument
  • DVD Player or Internet Access

Description

Rent the 1955 movie East of Eden, directed by Elia Kazan or search for clips from the movie via YouTube.  Based on your observations of the movie, compare and contrast the book and the movie. Does the movie compare to how you envisioned the characters and the events? If you were to make a movie out of the novel, what events from the novel would you include in the movie? Which would you not include?


Native American/American Indian Wars

Preparation

Difficulty

Medium

Time

Moderate

Learning Type

Visual and Hands On

Materials
  • Pieces of blank paper
  • Writing Instrument
  • Internet Access

Description

Adam Trask spent his time in the Calvary fighting in the American Indian Wars.  Conduct a quick internet search to find some of the major battles in the American Indian Wars.  As an example, you may choose to visit a United States history site with a page dedicated to an Indian Wars Time Table.  Choose one battle, and do some research to better understand the background of the battle and the outcome.  Present your findings in an essay.


Setting | Character Summaries| Plot Synopsis | Critical Reception
Cultural References