9550 Carmel Mtn. Rd
San Diego, Calif. 92129

American Literature On-Line

email a question: Ms. Harkins--questions email your homework: Ms. Harkins--assignments  


East of Eden:
Nature vs. Nurture


The central question of this conversation is What influences a person's personality more--nature (the way the person was born) or nurture (the environmental influences).

Before you conduct any online research, you need to logon to your account at learningpoint and respond to the following prompt (on the discussion board) by agreeing or disagreeing with it and explaining why. Here is the initial prompt, taken from pages 95 and 96 of East of Eden:

"I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents. . . And just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? . . . As a child may be born without an arm, so one may be born without kindness or the potential of conscinece . . . to a monster the norm must seem monstrous, since everyone is normal to himself. To the inner monster it must be even more obscure, since he has no visible thing to compare with others. To a man born without conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous."

Once you have responded to the novel's quotation, spend some time gathering information from the following links. See if it causes you to question your opinion, causes you to change your opinion, or if the information reinforces your original idea. As you read, you should copy and paste key lines into word or jot them down on paper. Once you finish gathering information, you need to return to the discussion board at learningpoint and post a revised opinion, including references to the specific articles. Then read through what your classmates have said and respond to at least two. You should only spend abou 15 min. gathering information.

A general overview on the issue (the first four pages, at least): BBC discusses genetics

The twin studies reveal the controls of nature: Cloning and twin studies

The biology of the issue: Nature plays a role

Sesame Street tackles the nature perspective: Sesame Street Advice

This article suggests that both theories are correct: Nature AND Nurture

Return to main page