John Steinbeck, fully John Ernst Steinbeck

John
Steinbeck, fully John Ernst Steinbeck
1902
1968

American Author known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men and East of Eden. Winner of Nobel Prize in Literature.

Author Quotes

If everything is coming your way, you are probably in the wrong lane. Adversity and defeat are more conducive to spiritual growth than prosperity and victory.

The writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit - for gallantry in defeat - for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally-flags of hope and of emulation.

The words are meaningless except in terms of feeling. Does anyone act as the result of thought or does feeling stimulate action and sometimes thought implement it.

Death is a personal matter, arousing sorrow, despair, fervor, or dry-hearted philosophy. Funerals, on the other hand, are social functions. Imagine going to a funeral without first polishing the automobile. Imagine standing at a graveside not dressed in your best dark suit and your best black shoes, polished delightfully. Imagine sending flowers to a funeral with no attached card to prove you had done the correct thing. In no social institution is the codified ritual of behavior more rigid than in funerals. Imagine the indignation if the minister altered his sermon or experimented with facial expression. Consider the shock if, at the funeral parlors, any chairs were used but those little folding yellow torture chairs with the hard seats. No, dying, a man may be loved, hated, mourned, missed; but once dead he becomes the chief ornament of a complicated and formal social celebration.

This is the thing to bomb. This is the beginning—from "I" to "we". If you who own the things people must have could understand this, you might preserve yourself. If you could separate causes from results, if you could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin were results, not causes, you might survive. But that you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes you forever into "I", and cuts you off forever from the "we".

There's an awful lot of inactive kindness which is nothing but laziness, not wanting any trouble, confusion, or effort.

Critics are the eunuchs of literature. They stand by in envious awe while the whole man and his partner demonstrate the art of living.

I know three things will never be believed - the true, the probable, and the logical.

Can a man think out his life, or must he just tag along?

A plan is a real thing, and things projected are experienced.

Now, there are many millions in their sects and churches who feel the order, 'Do thou,' and throw their weight into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predestination in 'Thou shalt.' Nothing they may do can interfere with what will be. But 'Thou mayest'! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.

If then this tendency toward collectivization is a mutation there is no reason to suppose it is for the better. It is a rule in paleontology that ornamentation and complication precede extinction. And our mutation, of which the assembly line, the collective farm, the mechanized army, and the mass production of food are evidences or even symptoms, might well correspond to the thickening armor of the great reptiles—a tendency that can end only in extinction.

A book is like a man - clever and dull, brave and cowardly, beautiful and
ugly. For every flowering thought there will be a page like a wet and mangy
mongrel, and for every looping flight a tap on the wing and a reminder that wax cannot hold the feathers firm too near the sun.

Money does not change the sickness, only the symptoms.

Strange how one person can saturate a room with vitality, with excitement. Then there are others, and this dame was one of them, who can drain off energy and joy, can suck pleasure dry and get no sustenance from it. Such people spread a grayness in the air about them.

The proofs that God does not exist are very strong, but in lots of people they are not as strong as the feeling that He does.

[Man] is the only animal who lives outside of himself, whose drive is in external things—property, houses, money, concepts of power. He lives in his cities and his factories, in his business and job and art. But having projected himself into these external complexities, he is them. His house, his automobile are a part of him and a large part of him. This is beautifully demonstrated by a thing doctors know—that when a man loses his possessions a very common result is sexual impotence.

In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted shortcuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror. It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world.

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.

No gift will ever buy back a man's love when you have removed his self-love.

I find out of long experience that I admire all nations and hate all governments.

If we could learn to like ourselves, even a little, maybe our cruelties and angers might melt away.

It would be good to live in a perpetual state of leave-taking, never to go nor to stay, but to remain suspended in that golden emotion of love and longing; to be loved without satiety

There are no ugly questions except those clothed in condescension.

If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.

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

American Author known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men and East of Eden. Winner of Nobel Prize in Literature.