John Steinbeck


American Author of Novels, Non-Fiction and Short Stories, Awarded Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath and Nobel Prize for Literature

Author Quotes

With knowledge there is no hope... without hope I would sit motionless, rusting like unused armor.

Yes, you will. And I will warn you now that not their blood but your suspicion might build evil in them. They will be what you expect of them?I think when a man finds good or bad in his children he is seeing only what he planted in them after they cleared the womb. You can?t make a race horse of a pig. No, said Samuel, but you can make a very fast pig.

You have defied not the pearl buyers, but the whole structure, the whole way of life, and I am afraid for you

You what? Curley?s like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys. He?s alla time picking scraps with big guys. Kind of like he?s mad at ?em because he ain?t a big guy. You seen little guys like that, ain?t you? Always scrappy?

With the evening the air was so full of their song that it was a kind of roaring silence. It was a veil, a background, and its sudden disappearance, as after a clap of thunder, was a shocking thing?In their millions the frog songs seemed to have a beat and a cadence, and perhaps it is the ears? function to do this just as it is the eyes? business to make stars twinkle.

You ain't worth a greased lack pin to ram you into hell.

You keep out of my bed, said Danny, for he knew that Joe Portagee had come to stay. The way he sat in a chair and crossed his knees had an appearance of permanence.

You?re growing up. Maybe that?s it, he said softly. Sometimes I think the world tests us most sharply then, and we turn inward and watch ourselves with horror. But that?s not the worst. We think everybody is seeing into us. Then dirt is very dirty and purity is shining white.

With us it ain?t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don?t have to sit in no bar room blowin? in our jack jus? because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us.

You are not a man anymore. You are a soldier. Your comfort is of no importance and your life isn?t of much importance. Most of your orders will be unpleasant, but that?s not your business.They should?ve trained you for this, and not for flower-strewn streets. They should have built your soul with truth, not led along with lies.

You know about the ugliness in people. You showed me the pictures. You use all the sad, weak parts of a man, and God knows he has them. But you don?t know about the rest. You don?t believe I brought you the letter because I don?t want your money. You don?t believe I loved you. And the men who come to you here with their ugliness, the men in the pictures?you don?t believe those men could have goodness and beauty in them. You see only one side, and you think?more than that, you?re sure?that?s all there is. There?s a part of you missing. Some men can?t see the color green, but they may never know they can?t. I think you are only a part of a human. I can?t do anything about that. But I wonder whether you ever feel that something invisible is all around you. It would be horrible if you knew it was there and couldn?t see it or feel it. Did you ever hear of hallucinations? If there are things I can?t see, don?t you think it?s possible that they are dreams manufactured in your own sick mind? No, I don?t, said Adam. No, I don?t. And I don?t think you do either. He turned and went out and closed the door behind him. Kate sat down and stared at the closed door. She was not aware that her fists beat softly on the white oilcloth. But she did know that the square white door was distorted by tears and that her body shook with something that felt like rage and also felt like sorrow.

You?re jest a-teasin? yourself up to cry. I don? know what?s come at you. Our folks ain?t never did that. They took what come to ?em dry-eyed.

Within that frame he went a long way and burned a deep scar.

You are one of the rare people who can separate your observation from your preconception. You see what is, where most people see what they expect.

You know how advice is. You only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyway.

You?re pretty full of yourself. You?re marveling at the tragic spectacle of Caleb Trask?Caleb the magnificent, the unique. Caleb whose suffering should have its Homer. Did you ever think of yourself as a snot-nose kid?mean sometimes, incredibly generous sometimes? Dirty in your habits, and curiously pure in your mind. Maybe you have a little more energy than most, just energy, but outside of that you?re very like all the other snot-nose kids. Are you trying to attract dignity and tragedy to yourself because your mother was a whore? And if anything should have happened to your brother, will you be able to sneak for yourself the eminence of being a murderer, snot-nose?

Woman can change better'n man, Ma said soothingly. Woman got all her life in her arms. Man got it all in his head.

You can boast about anything if it?s all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast.

You know most people live ninety per cent in the past, seven per cent in the present, and that only leaves them three per cent for the future.

Your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person ? a real person you know, or an imagined person ? and write to that one.

Women and children knew deep in themselves that no misfortune was too great to bear if their men were whole.

You can only fight Fate so far, and when you give in to it you're very strong; because all of your force flows in one direction.

You love beer so much. I'll bet someday you'll go in and order a beer milk shake.

Your future dream was still real and indestructible, had said go and this too was actually heading. Deciding to leave and say it was like being halfway.

Women can change better?n a man, Ma said soothingly. Woman got all her life in her arms. Man got it all in his head.

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American Author of Novels, Non-Fiction and Short Stories, Awarded Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath and Nobel Prize for Literature