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

There would come a time in our poverty when we needed a party.

They could get it, Doc said. They could ruin their lives and get money. Mack has qualities of genius. They're all very clever if they want something. They just know the nature of things too well to be caught in wanting.

They were students of the expressions of young women as they went in to confession, and they saw them as they came out and read the nature of the sin.

This one will be shrewd, I think, and shrewdness is a limitation on the mind. Shrewdness tells you what you must not do because it would not be shrewd.

To a monster the norm must seem monstrous, since everyone is normal to himself.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lif? up his gellow, but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not anthoer to help him up? Again, if two lie together then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him, and a three-fold cord is not quickly broken.

We did not want to see what we could not explain, and thus a large part of the world was left to the children and madmen, fools and mystics who are more interested in the same phenomena than their causes.

We still go where we want, even if we got to crawl for the right.'

There you have the difference between greatness and mediocrity. It's not an uncommon disease. But it's nice for a mediocre man to know that greatness must be the loneliest state in the world.

They had long ago found out that one could not be an owner unless one were cold.

They?s a time of change, an? when that comes, dyin? is a piece of all dyin?, and bearin? is a piece of all bearin?, an? bearin? an? dyin? is two pieces of the same thing. An? then things ain?t so lonely anymore. An? then a hurt don?t hurt so bad.

This was an evil beyond thinking. The killing of a man was not so evil as the killing of a boat. For a boat does not have sons, and a boat cannot protect itself, and a wounded boat does not heal.

To attempt to force them into a peonage of starvation and intimidated despair will be unsuccessful. They can be citizens of the highest type, or they can be an army driven by suffering and hatred to take what they need. On their future treatment will depend which course they will be forced to take.

Two features would be with her ??always. Her chin was firm and her mouth was as sweet as a flower and very wide and pink. Her hazel eyes Were sharp and Intelligent Completely and Fearless.

We do know that we are cheated from birth to the overcharge on our coffins.

We think of strangers as stronger and better than we are.

There?s a capacity for appetite, Samuel said, that a whole heaven and earth of cake can?t satisfy.

They had spoken once, but there is no need for speech if it is only a habit anyway. Kino sighed with satisfaction -- and that was conversation.

They?s scandalous things goes on in this here camp,?? she said darkly. Ever? Sat?dy night they?s dancin?, an? not only squar? dancin?, neither. They?s some does clutch-an?-hug dancin?! I seen ?em.

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.

To be alive at all is to have scars.

Two gallons is a great deal of wine, even for two paisanos. Spiritually the jugs maybe graduated thus: Just below the shoulder of the first bottle, serious and concentrated conversation. Two inches farther down, sweetly sad memory. Three inches more, thoughts of old and satisfactory loves. An inch, thoughts of bitter loves. Bottom of the first jug, general and undirected sadness. Shoulder of the second jug, black, unholy despondency. Two fingers down, a song of death or longing. A thumb, every other song each one knows. The graduations stop here, for the trail splits and there is no certainty. From this point anything can happen.

We don't take a trip. A trip takes us.

We value virtue but do not discuss it. The honest bookkeeper, the faithful wife, the earnest scholar get little of our attention compared to the embezzler, the tramp, the cheat.

There is a curious idea among unscientific men that in scientific writing there is a common plateau of perfectionism. Nothing could be more untrue. The reports of biologists are the measure, not of the science, but of the men themselves. There are as few scientific giants as any other kind. In some reports it is impossible, because of inept expression, to relate the descriptions to the living animals. In some papers collecting places are so mixed or ignored that the animals mentioned cannot be found at all. The same conditioning forces itself into specification as it does into any other kind of observation, and the same faults of carelessness will be found in scientific reports as in the witness chair of a criminal court. It has seemed sometimes that the little men in scientific work assumed the awe-fullness of a priesthood to hide their deficiencies, as the witch-doctor does with his stilts and high masks, as the priesthoods of all cults have, with secret or unfamiliar languages and symbols. It is usually found that only the little stuffy men object to what is called popularization, by which they mean writing with a clarity understandable to one not familiar with the tricks and codes of the cult. We have not known a single great scientist who could not discourse freely and interestingly with a child. Can it be that the haters of clarity have nothing to say, have observed nothing, have no clear picture of even their own fields? A dull man seems to be a dull man no matter what his field, and of course it is the right of a dull scientist to protect himself with feathers and robes, emblems and degrees, as do other dull men who are potentates and grand imperial rulers of lodges of dull men.

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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