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

Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, yet hunger gnaws you. You have been loved, but your yearning wanders in new fields. And to prod all these there's time, the Bastard Time.

What do I want in a doctor? Perhaps more than anything else?a friend with special knowledge.

When he read his father?s books, he was the first. He lived in a world shining and fresh and as uninspected as Eden on the sixth day.

When we look at contemporary American critics, we must take into account the fact that very few critics have set just criticism career. In many cases it is the only means of survival, while those who practice it fails to become a novelist, playwright and poet, and if over the years not succeed, must, despite its extreme reluctance to develop anger against those who have succeeded.

Where the rich lead, the poor will follow, or try to.

What freedom men and women could have, were they not constantly tricked and trapped and enslaved and tortured by their sexuality! The only drawback in that freedom is that without it one would not be a human. One would be a monster.

When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day's work is all I can permit myself to contemplate.

When you are writing, you must treat it as the most important thing in the world, even when you know it is not. This helps you take the job seriously and do your best on everything you write.

Wherever they?s a fight so hungry people can eat, I?ll be there. Wherever they?s a cop beatin? up a guy, I?ll be there. If Casy knowed, why, I?ll be in the way guys yell when they?re mad an??I?ll be in the way kids laugh when they?re hungry n? they know supper?s ready. An? when our folks eat the stuff they raise an? live in the houses they build?why, I?ll be there.

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?

When I was a kid my ol' man give me a haltered heifer an' says take her down an git her serviced. An' the fella says, I done it, an' ever' time since then when I hear a business man talkin' about service, I wonder who's gettin' screwed.

When you been in stir a little while, you can smell a question comin' from hell to breakfast.

While the churches, bringing the sweet smell of piety for the soul, came in prancing and farting like brewery horses in bock-beer time, the sister evangelism, with release and joy for the body, crept in silently and grayly, with its head bowed and its face covered.

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.

Who in his mind has not probe the dark water?

What is good for one may be bad for another, and only at the end do you know what was good and what was bad.

When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked. Four hoarse blasts of a ships's whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to tapping. The sound of a jet, an engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and vacant eye, the hot palms and the churn of stomach high up under the rib cage. In other words, I don't improve; in further words, once a bum always a bum. I fear the disease is incurable. I set this matter down not to instruct others but to inform myself.

When you know a friend is there you do not go to see him. Then he's gone and you blast your conscience to shreds that you did not see him.

Why do men like me want sons? he wondered. It must be because they hope in their poor beaten souls that these new men, who are their blood, will do the things they were not strong enough nor wise enough nor brave enough to do. It is rather like another chance at life; like a new bag of coins at a table of luck after your fortune is gone.

What is truth?

When Kino had finished, Juana came back to the fire and ate her breakfast. They had spoken once, but there is not need for speech if it is only a habit anyway. Kino sighed with satisfaction - and that was conversation.

When you look back carefully, you can always find the start time of a new era, then everything goes by itself, is chained.

Why do we so dread to think of our species as a species? Can it be that we are afraid of what we may find? That human self-love would suffer too much and that the image of God might prove to be a mask? This could be only partly true, for if we could cease to wear the image of a kindly, bearded, interstellar dictator, we might find ourselves true images of his kingdom, our eves the nebulae, and universes in our cells.

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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