Steinbeck’s work often articulates a deep familiarity with Presbyterian assumptions and values. While this is often expressed in terms of contempt or a rejection of America’s Calvinist strain, a consideration of Steinbeck’s family heritage offers a helpful lens for reading his work. Steinbeck’s Ulster Presbyterian family history shares much in common with America’s own story, and Steinbeck’s work, in particular East of Eden, might be read as an extended meditation on Presbyterianism. Far from simply rejecting that heritage, his writing reproduces its values in fascinating ways.

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