I think I've read enough now to realize that I prefer my books with the philosophy laid bare. I like the proverbs of Sancho Panza, the long speeches of Dmitri and Ivan in The Brothers Karamzov, the spectral prophecies of the Judge in Blood Meridian and even the blunt, thinly masked idealism of Ayn Rand.East of Eden is perfect in that sense. Steinbeck makes no attempt to mask the things that are true and important to him through hidden symbolism or difficult characters. Sometimes that can make for a naive novel, but East of Eden is not that. It's not that there is no metaphor in the book. You could probably write dissertations on just that, and I'm sure people have, but if you were to ignore it all and decide to live the rest of your life relying solely on the wisdom found in Eden's earthy dialog, I imagine you'd do alright.Even so, philosophy is just a fraction of what makes East of Eden great. Apart from that, it is a beautifully written book with enough depth that I'm already looking forward to reading again.