East of Eden

Steinbeck, John

Viking, 1952

p. 65

In prison, to avoid savage punishment, a man has to remove every expression of life from his face and body. He has to try to become invisible to the guards. “A clean face, an open face, an eye raised to meet an eye–these drew attention and attention drawn brought punishment. Adam [a prisoner] thought how a man doing an ugly or a brutal thing has hurt himself and must punish someone for the hurt [we not only hurt those we hate; we also hate those we hurt] . . . the savage whippings for the least stir of will, for the smallest shred of dignity or resistance, these seemed to indicate that guards were afraid of prisoners, and Adam knew from his years in the army that a man afraid is a dangerous animal. And Adam, like anyone in the world, feared what a whipping would do to his body and spirit. [To his spirit. Yes! Punishment of an adult–or brutality to one–ravages his spirit!]

He drew a curtain around himself. He removed expression from his face, light from his eyes, and silenced his speech.”