East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Lesson plans and other teaching resources

> East of Eden
A series of videos from 60second Recap to engage students:

  • A Biblical theme
    An entertaining segment bringing the story of the serpent in the garden into current times.
  • Overview
    This overview introduces themes of choices and salvation.
  • Plot
    Summary but no spoilers, mentioning that events are sometimes out of order, that plot lines are interrupted, and that things are back on track by the end. A good pre-reading warning.
  • Context
    Some of the characters are the author's relatives. What does this add to the novel?
  • Characters
    Who's a good guy? Who's a bad guy? Who's "quintessentially human"?
  • Theme 1
    The struggle between good and evil.
  • Theme 2
    The freedom to choose.
  • Motif
    The story of Cain and Abel as it plays out in the novel.
  • Symbols
    This video explores the Salinas Valley as the world outside the Garden of Eden.
  • Final Analysis
    Encouragement for the reader/viewer to choose to be a better person.

East of Eden
A teacher's unit plan with objectives, planned assessments, essential questions, timeline, and related links.

East of Eden family history project
Students taking AP Literature this year were assigned to read East of Eden for summer reading. They will arrive on the first day of school having written a short analytical paper on the topic of their choice. The first part of this lesson is for the first day of school to engage students in close reading and annotation, to introduce AP prompts, and to acquire a timed writing sample. The second part of this lesson is for the first block day we meet to discuss the novel, to practice formulating discussion questions, and to assess discussion skills. The third part of this lesson is to connect the novel to each student's life by researching their own family history, creating a short piece of fiction based on this history, and offering a brief power point presentation including photographs, characters, plot structure, and theme.

East of Eden
The novel's page at Wikipedia, with plot summary, theme analysis, and background information.

Literary Data Collection plan and Chart
Practice with active reading. By completing the chart, step-by-step, students are forced to look closely at a text, make assumptions and form questions, and see the connection between the Bible and Steinbeck. Word processor required.

Road Signs Mini Poster, East of Eden
Students select road signs related to characters in the novel and write an explanation.