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John Steinbeck quotes (showing 121-150 of 2,227)

“They're a dark people with a gift for suffering way past their deserving. It's said that without whiskey to soak and soften the world, they'd kill themselves. (Irish)”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“We know what we got, and we don't care whether you know it or not.”
John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men
“And, of course, people are interested only in themselves. If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“Thoughts are slow and deep and golden in the morning.”
John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat
“No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselves that it is true and true of us.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“It is the hour of pearl—the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself.”
John Steinbeck, Cannery Row
“I'll want to hear,' Samuel said. 'I eat stories like grapes.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“Somewhere in the world there is a defeat for everyone. Some are destroyed by defeat, and some made small and mean by victory. Greatness lives in one who triumphs equally over defeat and victory.”
John Steinbeck, The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights
“Our people are good people; our people are kind people. Pray God some day kind people won't all be poor.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything.”
John Steinbeck
“A man who tells secrets or stories must think of who is hearing or reading, for a story has as many versions as it has readers. Everyone takes what he wants or can from it and thus changes it to his measure. Some pick out parts and reject the rest, some strain the story through their mesh of prejudice, some paint it with their own delight. A story must have some points of contact with the reader to make him feel at home in it. Only then can he accept wonders.”
John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent
“The free exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“We could live offa the fatta the lan'.”
John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men
“After a while you'll think no thought the others do not think. You'll know no word the others can't say. And you'll do things because the others do them. You'll feel the danger in any difference whatever-a danger to the crowd of like-thinking, like-acting men...Once in a while there is a man who won't do what is demanded of him, and do you know what happens? The whole machine devotes itself coldly to the destruction of his difference. They'll beat your spirit and your nerves, your body and your mind, with iron rods until the dangerous difference goes out of you. And if you can't finally give in, they'll vomit you up and leave you stinking outside--neither part of themselves, nor yet free...They only do it to protect themselves. A thing so triumphantly illogical, so beautifully senseless as an army can't allow a question to weaken it.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“But you must give him some sign, some sign that you love him... or he'll never be a man. All his life he'll feel guilty and alone unless you release him.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America
“Time interval is a strange and contradictory matter in the mind. It would be reasonable to suppose that a routine time or an eventless time would seem interminable. It should be so, but it is not. It is the dull eventless times that have no duration whatever. A time splashed with interest, wounded with tragedy, crevassed with joy - that's the time that seems long in the memory. And this is right when you think about it. Eventlessness has no posts to drape duration on. From nothing to nothing is no time at all.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
tags: 57, time
“For the most part people are not curious except about themselves.”
John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent
“Cathy's lies were never innocent. Their purpose was to escape punishment, or work, or responsibility, and they were used for profit. Most liars are tripped up either because they forget what they have told or because the lie is suddenly faced with an incontrovertible truth. But Cathy did not forget her lies, and she developed the most effective method of lying. She stayed close enough to the truth so that one could never be sure. She knew two other methods also -- either to interlard her lies with truth or to tell a truth as though it were a lie. If one is accused of a lie and it turns out to be the truth, there is a backlog that will last a long time and protect a number of untruths.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“I can still tend the rabbits, George? I didn't mean no harm, George.”
John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men
“Failure is a state of mind. It's like one of those sand traps an ant lion digs. You keep sliding back. Takes one hell of a jump to get out of it.”
John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent
“Maybe the hardest thing in writing is simply to tell the truth about things as we see them.”
John Steinbeck
“The church and the whorehouse arrived in the Far West simultaneously. And each would have been horrified to think it was a different facet of the same thing. But surely they were both intended to accomplish the same thing: the singing, the devotion, the poetry of the churches took a man out of his bleakness for a time, and so did the brothels.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“You can boast about anything if it's all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“Look now -- in all of history men have been taught that killing of men is an evil thing not to be countenanced. Any man who kills must be destroyed because this is a great sin, maybe the worst we know. And then we take a soldier and put murder in his hands and we say to him, "use it well, use it wisely." We put no checks on him. Go out and kill as many of a certain kind or classification of your brothers as you can. And we will reward you for it because it is a violation of your early training.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror. It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try to live so that our death brings no pleasure to the world.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“There are two kinds of people in the world, observers and non-observers...”
John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America
“Time is more complex near the sea than in any other place, for in addition to the circling of the sun and the turning of the seasons, the waves beat out the passage of time on the rocks and the tides rise and fall as a great clepsydra.”
John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat
tags: sea, time
“Ain’t many guys travel around together,” he mused. “I don’t know why. Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”
John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men
“To a man born without conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden


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