John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” Quotes (78 Quotes)



    We only have one story. All novels, all poetry are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil.


    She planted that terror of debt so deeply in her children that even now, in a changed economic pattern where indebtedness is a part of living, I become restless when a bill is two days overdue. Olive never accepted the time-payment plan when it became popular. A thing bought on time was a thing you did not own and for which you were in debt. She saved for things she wanted, and this meant that the neighbours had new gadgets as much as two years before we did.

    I've never been content to pass a stone without looking under it. And it is a black disappointment to me that I can never see the far side of the moon.


    The quick pain of truth can pass away, but the slow, eating agony of a lie is never lost. That's a running sore.


    One day Samuel strained his back lifting a bale of hay, and it hurt his feelings more than his back, for he could not imagine a life in which Sam Hamilton was not privileged to lift a bale of hay. He felt insulted by his back, almost as he would have been if one of his children had been dishonest

    Well, every little boy thinks he invented sin. Virtue we think we learn, because we are told about it. But sin is our own designing.


    She used religion as a therapy for the ills of the world and herself, and she changed the religion to fit the ill. When she found that the theosophy she had developed for communication with a dead husband was not necessary, she cast about for some new unhappiness.

    Let's get it over and the door closed shut on it! Let's close it like a book and go on reading! New chapter, new life.

    The ways of sin are curious . . . I guess if a man had to shuck off everything he had, inside and out, he'd manage to hide a few little sins somewhere for his own discomfort. They're the last things we'll give up.

    And, of course, people are interested only in themselves. If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen.

    One day we'll sit and you'll lay it out on the table, neat like a solitaire deck, but now - why, you can't find all the cards.

    What freedom men and women could have, were they not constantly tricked and trapped and enslaved and tortured by their sexuality! The only drawback in that freedom is that without it one would not be a human. One would be a monster.

    I am sifting my memories, the way men pan the dirt under a barroom floor for the bits of gold dust that fall between the cracks. It's small mining-- small mining. You're too young a man to be panning memories, Adam. You should be getting yourself some new ones, so that the mining will be richer when you come to age.


    Liza had a finely developed sense of sin Idleness was a sin, and card playing, which was a kind of idleness to her. She was suspicious of fun whether it involved dancing or singing or even laughter. She felt that people having a good time were wide open to the devil. And this was a shame, for Samuel was a laughing man, but I guess Samuel was wide open to the devil. His wife protected him whenever she could.

    Then the hard, dry Spaniards came exploring through, greedy and realistic, and their greed was for gold or God. They collected souls as they collected jewels. They gathered mountains and valleys, rivers and whole horizons, the way a man might now gain tittle to building lots.

    As with many people, Charles, who could not talk, wrote with fullness. He set down his loneliness and his perplexities, and he put on paper many things he did not know about himself.

    Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.


    I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart. I guess a loving woman is indestructible.



    Then there were harebells, tiny lanterns, cream white and almost sinful looking, and these were so rare and magical that a child, finding one, felt singled out and special all day long.

    But think of the glory of the choice! That makes a man a man. A cat has no choice, a bee must make honey. There's no godliness there.


    When you're a child you're the center of everything. Everything happens for you. Other people? They're only ghosts furnished for you to talk to.


    More John Steinbeck Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Man - People - World - Mind - Time - Thought & Thinking - Education - Work & Career - Books - Sin - Life - Place - Courage - Dogs - Woman - Friendship - Fear - Success - Soul - View All John Steinbeck Quotations

    More John Steinbeck Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Cannery Row
    - East of Eden
    - Of Mice and Men
    - The Grapes of Wrath
    - The Pearl
    - The Winter of Our Discontent

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