The Grapes of Wrath Quotes

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The Grapes of Wrath The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
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The Grapes of Wrath Quotes (showing 31-60 of 415)
“I’m gettin’ tired way past where sleep rests me.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“If you're in trouble or hurt or need–go to poor people. They're the only ones that'll help–the only ones.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“Funny thing how it is. If a man owns a little property, that property is him, it's part of him, and it's like him. If he owns property only so he can walk on it and handle it and be sad when it isn't doing well, and feel fine when the rain falls on it, that property is him, and some way he's bigger because he owns it. Even if he isn't successful he's big with his property. That is so.'

'But let a man get property he doesn't see, or can't take time to get his fingers in, or can't be there to walk on it - why, then the property is the man. He can't do what he wants, he can't think what he wants. The property is the man, stronger than he is. And he is small, not big. Only his possessions are big - and he's the servant of his property. That is so, too.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“Some of the owner men were kind because they hated what they had to do, and some of them were angry because they hated to be cruel, and some of them were cold because they had long ago found that one could not be an owner unless one were cold. And all of them were caught in something larger than themselves. Some of them hated the mathematics that drove them, and some were afraid, and some worshiped the mathematics because it provided a refuge from thought and from feeling. If a bank or a finance company owned the land, the owner man said, The Bank - or the Company - needs - wants - insists - must have - as though the Bank or the Company were a monster, with thought and feeling, which had ensnared them. These last would take no responsibility for the banks or the companies because they were men and slaves, while the banks were machines and masters all at the same time. Some of the owner men were a little proud to be slaves to such cold and powerful masters. The owner men sat in the cars and explained. You know the land is poor. You've scrabbled at it long enough, God knows.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“This you may say of man - when theories change and crash, when schools, philosophies, when narrow dark alleys of thought, national, religious, economic, grow and disintegrate, man reaches, stumbles forward, painfully, mistakenly sometimes. Having stepped forward, he may slip back, but only half a step, never the full step back.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“He drank too much when he could get it, ate too much when it was there, talked too much all the time.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“Before I knowed it, I was saying out loud, 'The hell with it! There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stuff people do. It's all part of the same thing. And some of the things folks do is nice, and some ain't nice, but that's as far as any man got a right to say.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“I nearly always write just as I nearly always breathe.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“Why, Tom - us people will go on livin' when all them people is gone. Why, Tom, we're the people that live. They ain't gonna wipe us out. Why, we're the people - we go on.'

'We take a beatin' all the time.'

'I know.' Ma chuckled. 'Maybe that makes us tough. Rich fellas come up an' they die, an' their kids ain't no good, an' they die out. But, Tom, we keep a-comin'. Don' you fret none, Tom. A different time's comin'.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“Ma was heavy, but not fat; thick with child-bearing and work. She wore a loose Mother Hubbard of gray cloth in which there had once been colored flowers, but the color was washed out now, so that the small flowered pattern was only a little lighter gray than the background. The dress came down to her ankles, and he strong, broad, bare feet moved quickly and deftly over the floor. Her thin, steel-gray hair was gathered in a sparse wispy knot at the back of her head. Strong, freckled arms were bare to the elbow, and her hands were chubby and delicate, like those of a plump little girl. She looked out into the sunshine. Her full face was not soft; it was controlled, kindly. Her hazel eyes seemed to have experienced all possible tragedy and to have mounted pain and suffering like steps into a high calm and a superhuman understanding. She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken. And since old Tom and the children could not know hurt or fear unless she acknowledged hurt and fear, she had practiced denying them in herself. And since, when a joyful thing happened, they looked to see whether joy was on her, it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials. But better than joy was calm. Imperturbability could be depended upon. And from her great and humble position in the family she had taken dignity and a clean calm beauty. From her position as healer, her hands had grown sure and cool and quiet; from her position as arbiter she had become as remote and faultless in judgment as a goddess. She seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever really deeply wavered or despaired the family would fall, the family will to function would be gone.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“But you can't start. Only a baby can start. You and me - why, we're all that's been. The anger of a moment, the thousand pictures, that's us. This land, this red land, is us; and the flood years and the dust years and the drought years are us. We can't start again.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“Yes, you should talk," he said. "Sometimes a sad man can talk the sadness right out through his mouth. Sometimes a killin' man can talk the murder right out of his mouth.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success.”
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
“Two are better than one,because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lif' up his fellow, but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“You're buying years of work, toil in the sun; you're buying a sorrow that can't talk.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“The fields were fruitful, and starving men moved on the roads.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“Tell 'em to God. Don' go burdenin' other people with your sins. That ain't decent.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“But you can't start. Only a baby can start. You and me - why, we're all that's been. The anger of a moment, the thousand pictures, that's us. This land, this red land, is us; and the flood years and the dust years and the drought years are us. We can't start again. The bitterness we sold to the junk man - he got it all right, but we have it still. And when the owner men told us to go, that's us; and when the tractor hit the house, that's us until we're dead. To California or any place - every one a drum major leading a parade of hurts, marching with our bitterness. And some day - the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they'll all walk together, and there'll be a dead terror from it.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“The break would never come as long as fear could turn to wrath.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“Hm-m," he said. "Lookie, Ma. I been all day an' all night hidin' alone. Guess who
I been thinkin' about? Casy! He talked a lot. Used ta bother me. But now I been thinkin' what he said, an' I can remember-
all of it. Says one time he went out in the wilderness to find his own soul, an' he foun' he didn' have no soul that was his'n. Says he foun' he jus' got a little piece of a great big soul. Says a wilderness ain't no good, 'cause his little piece of a soul wasn't no good 'less it was with the rest, an' was whole. Funny how I remember. Didn't even think I was listenin'. But I know now a fella ain't no good alone.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“You stay out here a little while, an' if you smell any roses, you come let me smell, too.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“The land is so much more than its analysis.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“Men who have created new fruits in the world cannot create a system whereby those fruits may be eaten.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“The last clear definite function of man—muscles aching to work, minds aching to create beyond the single need—this is man....For man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. This you may say of man—when theories change and crash, when schools, philosophies, when narrow dark alleys of thought, national, religious, economic, grow and disintegrate, man reaches, stumbles forward, painfully, mistakenly sometimes. Having stepped forward, he may slip back, but only half a step, never the full step back. This you may say and know it and know it. This you may know when the bombs plummet out of the black planes on the market place, when prisoners are stuck like pigs, when the crushed bodies drain filthily in the dust. You may know it in this way. If the step were not being taken, if the stumbling-forward ache were not alive, the bombs would not fall, the throats would not be cut. Fear the time when the bombs stop falling while the bombers live—for every bomb is proof that the spirit has not died. And fear the time when the strikes stop while the great owners live—for every little beaten strike is proof that the step is being taken. And this you can know—fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is the foundation of Manself, and this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“The people in flight from the terror behind-strange things happen to them, some bitterly cruel and some so beautiful that the faith is refired forever.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“Maybe there ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue, they's just what people does. Some things folks do is nice and some ain't so nice, and that's all any man's got a right to say.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“I know, Ma. I'm a-tryin'. But them deputies- Did you ever see a deputy that didn't have a fat ass? An' they waggle their ass an' flop their gun aroun'. Ma", he said, "if it was the law they was workin' with, why we could take it. But it ain't the law. They're a-working away at our spirits. They're a-tryin' to make us cringe an' crawl like a whipped bitch. They're tryin' to break us. Why, Jesus Christ, Ma, they comes a time when the on'y way a fella can keep his decency is by takin' a sock at a cop. They're working on our decency".”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“In the evening a strange thing happened: the twenty families became one family, the Children were the children of all. The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream. And it might be that a sick child threw despair into the hearts of twenty families, of a hundred people; that a birth there in a tent kept a hundred people quiet and awestruck trough the night and filled a hundred people with the birth-joy in the morning...Every night a world created, complete with furniture- friends made and enemies established; a world complete with braggarts and with cowards, with quiet men, with humble men, with kindly men. Every night relationships that make a world, established; and every morning the world torn down like a circus.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
“The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It's the monster. Men made it, but they can't control it.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

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