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

You see, there's a responsibility in being a person. It's more than just taking up space where air would be.

You're not buying only junk, you're buying junked lives. And more - you'll see - you're buying bitterness.

Wishing just brought earned disappointment.

Yellowstone National Park is no more representative of America than is Disneyland.

You don't even know where I'm going. I don't care. I'd like to go anywhere.

You stay out here a little while, an' if you smell any roses, you come let me smell, too.

You're not clever. You don't know what you want. You have no proper fierceness. You let other people walk over you. Sometimes I think you're a weakling who will never amount to a dog turd. Does that answer your question? I love you better. I always have.

With a few exceptions people don't want money. They want luxury and they want love and they want admiration.

Yes, I?ll be glad. And she said suddenly, There are some times, Joseph, when the love for people is strong and warm like a sorrow. He looked quickly at her in astonishment at her statement of his own thought. How did you think that, dear? I don?t know. Why? Because I was thinking it at that moment ? and there are times when the people and the hills and the earth, all, everything except the stars, are one, and the love of them all is strong like a sadness. Not the stars, then? No, never the stars. The stars are always strangers ? sometimes evil, but always strangers. Smell the sage, Elizabeth. It?s good to be getting home.

You fellas don' know what you're doin. You're helpin to starve kids...You don' know what you're a' doin'.

You think it was a sin to let my wife die like that??? Well,?? said Casy, for anybody else it was a mistake, but if you think it was a sin?then it?s a sin. A fella builds his own sins right up from the groun?.

You're too young a man to be panning memories, Adam. You should be getting yourself some new ones, so that the mining will be richer when you come to age.

With all our horrors and faults, somewhere in us there is a shining.

Yes, it meant something. Then he said, Mr. Trask, do you think the thoughts of people suddenly become important at a given age? Do you have sharper feelings or clearer thoughts now than when you were ten? Do you see as well, hear as well, taste as vitally?

You got a God. Don't make no difference if you don' know what he looks like.

You want I should drive twenty miles because I got roots?

You've never had a quick jump in the hay in your life. I could learn, maybe. You couldn't fornicate if you wanted to. I could try. It would take love or hatred to arouse you, and either one would require a slow and stately procedure.

With all the polls and opinions posts, with newspapers more opinion than news so that we no longer know one from the other...

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.

You got to have patience. 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.

You was always too busy pullen' little girls' pigtails when I give you the Holy Sperit.

You've seen the sun flatten and take strange shapes just before it sinks in the ocean. Do you have to tell yourself every time that it's an illusion caused by atmospheric dust and light distorted by the sea, or do you simply enjoy the beauty of it?

What good men most biologists are, the tenors of the scientific world ? temperamental, moody, lecherous, loud-laughing, and healthy. Your true biologist will sing you a song as loud and off-key as will a blacksmith, for he knows that morals are too often diagnostic of prostatitis and stomach ulcers. Sometimes he may proliferate a little too much in all directions, but he is as easy to kill as any other organism, and meanwhile he is very good company, and at least he does not confuse a low hormone productivity with moral ethics.

When I was very young and I felt in me the irrepressible impulse to be anywhere else, I was assured by people of mature age that maturity would cure this burning desire. When the years indicated me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age, assured me that a few years more calm down my fever, and now, I have fifty-eight perhaps senility the can. Nothing worked. Four hoarse blows the whistle of a ship still bristle hair on my neck and put my feet to tap dance. The sound of a jet plane, an engine to warm up to the beat of shod hooves on pavement, cause the old tingle, dry mouth and the vacant look, the heat of the palms and the violent shaking of the stomach, to jumps under the rib cage. In other words, do not I improve, or, going further, who was bummer is always a bummer. I fear that the disease is incurable.

When you collect marine animals there are certain flat worms so delicate that they are almost impossible to catch whole for they will break and tatter under the touch. You must let them ooze and crawl of their own will onto a knife blade and lift them gently into your bottle of sea water. And perhaps that might be the way to write this book-to open the page and let the stories crawl in by themselves.

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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