I'll admit... sometimes I cheat. Sometimes.................. I read books not on The Official List. Yes, sometimes I'm reading less-scholarly works like V.C. Andrew's Flowers in the Attic (don't judge me... brother and sister get it on?! Don't tell me you're not fascinated by that too!) But for the most part, I try to make sure my indiscretions are worth it. And this time, the delay in me finishing The Poems of Emily Dickinson wastotally worth it.
Husband is a recent convert to John Steinbeck's writing. And here's another big confession ::hangs head in shame:: I've never read anything by Steinbeck. I know, I know... that's WRONG with me?! How have I not at least picked up The Grapes of Wrath? I went to high school, right?! Actually, little known fact: Bear Allen never went to high school. This brilliance is natural, God-given intellect ;) But really... no, Steinbeck had (somehow) escaped me all these years. However, Husband's obsession piqued my interest and I had to see what all the fuss was about.
There are very few characters that are lovable for the very flaws that they struggle with. But in the case of Caleb Trask, it's the fact that he constantly fights against those flaws that make him one of the best literary characters I have ever come across. In Cal, Steinbeck created one of the most human humans we've seen in the history of literature. Originally, we're led to believe that Aaron (or Aron... the missing 'a' alone makes me hate him all the more) is the one full of goodness and Cal is the darker, more troubled character. However, it becomes apparent that it's this darkness and troubled outlook that makes Cal the character readers find themselves rooting for. Like all people, Cal has natural evil inclinations. And as we all hope we do, he pushes against these instincts with a humble and true desire for right. Now, don't confuse right with "righteousness". The search for false righteousness is the catalyst for Aaron's downfall. Aaron only has one idea of what is good and right in this world... whereas, Cal realizes that right changes with each situation. Does Cal always make the right decisions? Of course not... and that's what makes him relate-able to readers. Cal is who we are and also who we hope to be.
Now I'm dying to read on through the rest of Steinbeck's work...but alas, I owe it to you guys (and Rory and Lorelai) to move on with BW&R. So, as of now, it's back to Miss Dickinson. But I thoroughly enjoyed my trip through California's Salinas Valley. Thank you, Johnny Boy!