Honors Program

[Honors-in-Discipline (Choose below)], Honors in English

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Joshua S. Reid

Thesis Professor Department

<--College of Arts and Sciences-->

Thesis Reader(s)

Scott Honeycutt


There is no greater work of literature, perhaps, than the Bible. The Bible has shaped and influenced more literature, art, and culture than any other work in our time. The effects of the Bible’s words are still woven into modern literature today, illustrating that the Bible’s themes, allegories, parables, fables, metaphors, and characters are things that we humans are unable to depart far from even many decades later. One of the very first stories in the Bible, found at the beginning in Genesis, tells of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve’s depiction as the first kind of our species and the story of their creation to their Fall is one transformative story that humans seem destined to repeat. This cycle of falling is rampant in American literature, from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first century, appearing in works by prominent authors such as R. W. B. Lewis, Leo Marx, and John Steinbeck. Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden wrestles heavily with both biblical themes and metaphors and acts as a biblical framework for the Fall narrative and the book of Genesis. This thesis seeks to examine the Fall as a conceptual metaphor for American literature and thinking through John Steinbeck’s East of Eden and attempts to explain why literature, and humans, keep endlessly returning to the Fall.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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