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John Steinbeck Quotes (251 Quotes)


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  • 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.
    (John Steinbeck, "East of Eden")

  • In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, our politics, even our religion, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God. This in my time is the danger. There is great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused. At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?
    (John Steinbeck, "East of Eden")

  • 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.
    (John Steinbeck, "East of Eden")

  • The direction of a big act will warp history, but probably all acts do the same in their degree, down to a stone stepped over in the path or the breath caught at sight of a pretty girl or a fingernail nicked in the garden soil.
    (John Steinbeck, "East of Eden")

  • When a man says he does not want to speak of something he usually means he can think of nothing else.
    (John Steinbeck, "East of Eden")


  • And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history; repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.
    (John Steinbeck, "The Grapes of Wrath")

  • The clouds appeared and went away, and in a while they did not try anymore.
    (John Steinbeck, "The Grapes of Wrath")

  • If every single man and woman, child and baby, acts and conducts itself in a known pattern and breaks no walls and differs with no one and experiments in no way and is not sick and does not endanger the ease and peace of mind or steady unbroken flow of the town, then that unit can disappear and never be heard of.
    (John Steinbeck, "The Pearl")

  • For the most part people are not curious except about themselves.
    (John Steinbeck, "The Winter of Our Discontent")

  • Misfortune is a fact of nature acceptable to women, especially when it falls on other women.
    (John Steinbeck, "The Winter of Our Discontent")

  • 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.
    (John Steinbeck, "East of Eden")

  • It was quite normal in that day for a man to use up three or four wives in a normal lifetime.
    (John Steinbeck, "East of Eden")

  • Parents took honor from a daughter who was a teacher.
    (John Steinbeck, "East of Eden")

  • The free exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.
    (John Steinbeck, "East of Eden")

  • 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.
    (John Steinbeck, "East of Eden")


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