John Steinbeck

John
Steinbeck
1902
1968

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

Author Quotes

A wife is like a children's movie; always under-appreciated and without either, life would be incomplete

Adam Trask to Cathy: 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-yes, that's right- 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 love 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.' ...I seem to know that there's a part of you missing. Some men can't see the colour green, but they may never know they can't. I think you are only part of a human. I can't do anything about that. ut 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 or feel it. That would be horrible.

All men are moral. Only their neighbors are not.

A kind of second childhood falls on so many men. They trade their violence for the promise of a small increase of life span. In effect, the head of the house becomes the youngest child. And I have searched myself for this possibility with a kind of horror. For I have always lived violently, drunk hugely, eaten too much or not at all, slept around the clock or missed two nights of sleeping, worked too hard and too long in glory, or slobbed for a time in utter laziness. I've lifted, pulled, chopped, climbed, made love with joy and taken my hangovers as a consequence, not as a punishment. I did not want to surrender fierceness for a small gain in yardage. My wife married a man; I saw no reason why she should inherit a baby.

A nation may be moved by its statesmen and defined by its military but it's usually remembered for its artists.

A writer lives in awe of words, for they can be cruel or kind, and they can change their meanings right in front of you. They pick up flavors and odors like butter in a refrigerator.

Adam wet his dry lips and tried to ask and failed and tried again. Why do they have to do it? he said. Why is it? Cyrus was deeply moved and he spoke as he had never spoken before. I don't know, he said. I've studied and maybe learned how things are, but Im not even close to why they are. And you must not expect to find that people understand what they do. So many things are done instinctively, the way a bee makes honey or a fox dips his paws into a stream to fool dogs. A fox can't say why he does it, and what bee remembers winter or expects it to come again? When I knew you had to go I thought to leave the future open so you could dig out your own findings, and then it seemed better if I could protect you with the little I know. You'll go in soon now--you've come to the age. I don't want to, said Adam quickly. You'll go in soon, his father went on, not hearing. And I want to tell you so you won't be surprised. They'll first strip off your clothes, but they'll go deeper than that. They'll shuck off any little dignity you have--you'll lose what you think of as your decent right to live and be let alone to live. They'll make you live and eat and sleep and shit close to other men. And when they dress you up again you'll not be able to tell yourself from the others. You can't even wear a scrap or pin a note on your breast to say, 'This is me--separate from the rest.' I don't want to do it, said Adam. After a while, said Cyrus, 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 whole crowd of like-thinking, like-acting men. What if I don't? Adam demanded. Yes, said Cyrus, sometimes that happens. 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. It's better to fall in with them. They only do it to protect themselves.

All of them had a restlessness in common.

Author Picture
First Name
John
Last Name
Steinbeck
Birth Date
1902
Death Date
1968
Bio

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