William Saroyan Quotes (49 Quotes)


    Are we sure it is desirable for a man's spirit not to be at war with itself, or that it is better to be serene and ready to go to dinner than to be excited and unwilling to stop for a cup of coffee, even

    The role of art is to make a world which can be inhabited.

    The streets made me, and the streets stink, but I love them, for I was born in them out of flesh and I was born in them out of spirit.


    Whoever the kid had been, whoever had had the grand attitude, has finally heeded the admonishment of parents, teachers, governments, religions, and the law You just change your attitude now please, young man.


    I was a little afraid of him not the boy himself, but of what he seemed to be the victim of the world.

    I don't like to see kids throw away their truth just because it isn't worth a dime in the open market.

    Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart.

    Of course if you like your kids, if you love them from the moment they begin, you yourself begin all over again, in them, with them, and so there is something more to the world again.



    There could be no extreme vanity in my recognition of myself, if in fact there could be any at all.

    Is the small town a place, truly, of the world, or is it no more than something out of a boy's dreaming Out of his love of all things not of death made All things somewhere beyond the dust, rust, and decay, beyond the top, beyond all sides, beyond bottom outside, around, over, under, within

    Be the inferior of no man, nor of any be the superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man's guilt is not yours, nor is any man's innocence a thing apart.

    Neither love nor hate, nor any order of intense adherence to personal involvement in human experience, may be so apt to serve the soul as this freedom and this necessity to be kind.

    In the time of your life, live - so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite variety and mystery of it.

    The simple fact was that if the song wasn't about me, I couldn't see how it could possibly be about anybody else, including the one I knew it was supposed to be about, and good luck to him, too.

    Despise evil and un godliness but not men of un godliness or evil.

    He neither walks with the multitude nor cheers with them. The writer who is a real writer is a rebel who never stops.

    People is all everything is, all it has ever been, all it can ever be.

    In those days, there was something more to the world than there is now.

    Doctors don't know everything really. They understand matter, not spirit. And you and I live in spirit.

    I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia. See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.

    He paints for the blind, and we are the blind, and he lets us see for sure what we saw long ago but weren't sure we saw. He paints for the dead, to remind us that - great good God, think of it - we're alive ...

    This transformation in kids - from flashing dragonflies, so to say, to sticky water-surface worms slowly slipping downstream - is noticed with pride by society and with mortification by God ...

    If you give to a thief he cannot steal from you, and he is no longer a thief.

    San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth.


    The basic truth of all things, as nearly as we may ever dream of determining and knowing this truth, is form, that which is, as it is. The way and shape of the thing no less than the thing itself.

    I am interested in madness. I believe it is the biggest thing in the human race, and the most constant. How do you take away from a man his madness without also taking away his identity


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