Pearl S. Buck, fully Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu

Pearl S.
Buck, fully Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu
1892
1973

American Novelist and Humanitarian, Nobel Prize in Literature and Pulitzer Prize Winner

Author Quotes

The common sense of people will surely prove to them someday that mutual support and cooperation are only sensible for the security and happiness of all. Such faith keeps me continually ready and purposeful with energy to do what one person can towards shaping the environment in which the human being can grow with freedom.

This scroll, five hundred years old and more, had been inspired by her favorite, the great Wang Wei, master of landscape art, who had painted the scenes from his own home, where he lived for thirty years before he died. Now behind the palace walls on this winter?s day, where she could see only sky and falling snow, Tzu His gazed upon the green landscapes of continuing spring. One landscape melted into another as slowly she unrolled the scroll, so that she might dwell upon every detail of tree and brook and distant hillside. So did she, in imagination, pass beyond the high walls which enclosed her, and she traveled through a delectable country, beside flowing brooks and spreading lakes, and following the ever-flowing river she crossed over wooden bridges and climbed the stony pathways upon a high mountainside and thence looked down a gorge to see a torrent fed by still higher springs, and breaking into waterfalls as it traveled toward the plains. Down from the mountain again she came, past small villages nestling in pine forests and into the warmer valleys among bamboo groves, and she paused in a poet?s pavilion, and so reached at last the shore where the river lost itself in a bay. There among the reeds a fisherman?s boat rose and fell upon the rising tide. Here the river ended, its horizon the open sea and the misted mountains of infinity. This scroll, Lady Miao had once told her, was the artist?s picture of the human soul, passing through the pleasantest scenes of earth to the last view of the unknown future, far beyond.

When men destroy their old gods they will find new ones to take their place.

The creative instinct is, in its final analysis and in its simplest terms, an enormous extra vitality, a super-energy, born inexplicably in an individual, a vitality great beyond all the needs of his own living ? an energy which no single life can consume.

This was his mind, a storehouse, a computer programmed to life, minute by minute, hour by hour, day and night.

When people work beyond their destiny, all they do fails.

The feet bear the burden of the body, the head the burden of the mind, and the heart the burden of the spirit.

Throw eggs at a rock, and though one uses all the eggs in the world, the rock remains the same.

When we know what we want to prove, we go out and find our facts. They are always there.

The instinct which creates the arts is not the same as that which produces art. The creative instinct is, in its final analysis and in its simplest terms, an enormous extra vitality, a super-energy, born inexplicably in an individual, a vitality great beyond all the needs of his own living ? an energy which no single life can consume. This energy consumes itself then in creating more life, in the form of music, painting, writing, or whatever is its most natural medium of expression. Nor can the individual keep himself from this process, because only by its full function is he relieved of the burden of this extra and peculiar energy ? an energy at once physical and mental, so that all his senses are more alert and more profound than another man's, and all his brain more sensitive and quickened to that which his senses reveal to him in such abundance that actuality overflows into imagination. It is a process proceeding from within. It is the heightened activity of every cell of his being, which sweeps not only himself, but all human life about him, or in him, in his dreams, into the circle of its activity.

To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death.

Why should we hate them? Because ours is the only true civilization! Even in science -- consider that we invented the sternpost rudder twelve hundred years before the Europeans did! Fore-and-aft sails in the third century! Treadmill paddle wheel for boats five hundred years later! Warships with rams and twenty paddle wheels by the twelfth century -- the British thought we had copied theirs, the fools! In the thirteenth century we had ships with fifty cabins for passengers, six-masts, double planking, water-tight compartments! Only in the last century did the barbarians even have transverse bulkheads! Five hundred years ago we already had ships four hundred and fifty feet long, and we grew fresh vegetables aboard in tubs! WE sailed the high seas to Sumatra and India, to Aden and Africa and even to Madagascar -- sixty years before the Portuguese bit a piece from the thigh of India! I curse Confucius and all those mad saints who persuaded us against war! Did you ever hear of Sun Wa, who lived three thousand years ago? No? Read the Art of War! 'If you are not in danger, do not fight,' he wrote. Now we are in danger!

The people of China forged their own literature apart from letters. And today this is what lives, to be part of what is to come, and all the formal literature, which was called art, is dead. The plots of these novels are often incomplete, the love interest is often not brought to solution, heroines are often not beautiful and heroes often are not brave. Nor has the story always an end; sometimes it merely stops, in the way life does, in the middle of it when death is not expected.

To shut one's door while others suffer, to care only for one's own, disclaiming responsibility for humanity, is to destroy all good impulse and to build up a deadly selfishness which will be a boomerang in its effect upon ourselves. Let our own children see the opportunity now theirs for Americanism in the best and traditional sense. There was never a better hour than this to be an American. May 1940, Christian Herald.

With so profound a faith in the human heart and its power to grow toward the light, I find here reason and cause enough for hope and confidence in the future of mankind.

The relationships between the five elements. What are the five elements? They are wood, fire, earth, metal, water. These create, and also destroy, each other... On the side of creation, wood creates fire; fire, as ash, creates earth. In earth there is metal: metal melts to become liquid. Water creates trees, or wood. On the side of destruction, wood consumes water through trees; earth can stop water; water destroys fire; fire destroys metal; but metal in an instrument destroys wood....Within this circle of creation and destruction man must live harmoniously, with ebb and flow, in tune with all that exists.

To take each day as a separate page, to be read carefully, savoring all of the details, this is best for me, I think.

Write a novel if you must, but think of money as an unlikely accident.

The street is noisy and the men and women are not perfect in the technique of their expression as the statues are. They are ugly and imperfect, incomplete even as human beings, and where they come from and where they go cannot be known. But they are people and therefore infinitely to be preferred to those who stand upon the pedestals of art.

To the Americans, Communism is a crime. They will have none of it. - But why, when it is ours, not theirs? I suppose this American concern with a form of government springs from their own history. Their ancestors fled from Europe to escape tyranny from their ancient rulers. Freedom was their dream. To them, therefore, tyranny is endemic in Communism. They will have none of it. It is not we who are Chinese whom they hate. It is the tyranny they imagine.

Yes, she now believed that when her body died, her soul would go on. Gods she did not worship, and faith she had none, but love she had and forever. Love alone had awakened her sleeping soul and had made it deathless.

The waters of the genius of story gushed out as they would, however the natural rocks allowed and the trees persuaded, and only common people came and drank and found rest and pleasure. For the novel in China was the peculiar product of the common people. And it was solely their property.

Wandering is never waste, dear boy,' he said. 'While you wander you will find much to wonder about, and wonder is the first step to creation.

Yet somehow our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is in the way that it cares for its helpless members.

The wild winds had been sown and the whirlwinds were gathering... and I was reaping what I had not sown... None of us could escape the history of the centuries before any of us had been born, and with which we had nothing to do. We had not, I think, ever committed even a mild unkindness against a Chinese, and certainly we had devoted ourselves to justice for them, we had taken sides against our own race again and again for their sakes, sensitive always to injustices which others had committed and were still committing. But nothing mattered today, neither the kindness nor the cruelty. We were in hiding for our lives because we were white.

Author Picture
First Name
Pearl S.
Last Name
Buck, fully Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu
Birth Date
1892
Death Date
1973
Bio

American Novelist and Humanitarian, Nobel Prize in Literature and Pulitzer Prize Winner