John Steinbeck Quotes

64 of the best book quotes from John Steinbeck
  1. #1
    “It takes great courage to back truth unacceptable to our times.”
  2. #2
    “George said wonderingly, ‘S’pose they was a carnival or a circus come to town, or a ball game, . . . We’d just go to her . . . We wouldn’t ask nobody if we could. Jus’ say, ‘We’ll go to her,’ an’ we would. Jus’ milk the cow and sling some grain to the chickens an’ go to her.‘”
  3. #3
    “But you get used to goin’ around with a guy an’ you can’t get rid of him.”
  4. #4
    “I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That ain’t no good. They don’t have no fun. After a long time they get mean. They get wantin’ to fight all the time.”
  5. #5
    “A guy on a ranch don’t never listen nor he don’t ast no questions.”
  6. #6
    ″‘I said what stake you got in this guy? You takin’ his pay away from him?′
    ‘No, ‘course I ain’t. Why you think I’m sellin’ him out?′
    ‘Well, I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy. I just like to know what your interest is.‘”
  7. #7
    “George can tell you screwy things, and it don’t matter. It’s just the talking. . . . That’s all.”
  8. #8
    ″‘Come on in and set a while,’ Crooks said. ‘Long as you won’t get out and leave me alone, you might as well set down.‘”
  9. #9
    “We got a future.”
  1. #10
    “They fell into a silence. They looked at one another, amazed. This thing they had never really believed in was coming true.”
  2. #11
    “You never oughta drink water when it ain’t runnin’.”
  3. #12
    “Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other.”
  4. #13
    “We could live offa the fatta the lan’.”
  5. #14
    “Guy don’t need no sense to be a nice fella. Seems to me sometimes it jus’ works the other way around. Take a real smart guy and he ain’t hardly ever a nice fella.”
  6. #15
    “As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.”
  7. #16
    “But now, by saying what his future was going to be like, he had created it. A plan is a real thing, and things projected are experienced. A plan once made and visualized becomes a reality along with other realities—never to be destroyed but easily to be attacked.”
    John Steinbeck
    The Pearl
  8. #17
    “It is not good to want a thing too much. It sometimes drives the luck away. You must want it just enough . . . ”
  9. #18
    “Luck, you see, brings bitter friends.”
  1. #19
    “For it is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more. And this is said in disparagement, whereas it is one of the greatest talents the species has and one that has made it superior to animals that are satisfied with what they have.”
  2. #20
    “Perhaps it takes courage to raise children.”
  3. #21
    “There’s more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty.”
  4. #22
    “A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill?”
  5. #23
    “I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart. I guess a loving woman is indestructible.”
  6. #24
    “The last clear definite function of man—muscles aching to work, minds aching to create . . . ”
  7. #25
    “How can we live without our lives? How will we know it’s us without our past?”
  8. #26
    “I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.”
  9. #27
    “The clouds appeared and went away, and in a while they did not try anymore.”
  1. #28
    “I nearly always write just as I nearly always breathe.”
  2. #29
    “If you’re in trouble or hurt or need–go to poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help–the only ones.”
  3. #30
    “Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, and emerges ahead of his accomplishments.”
  4. #31
    “They’s times when how you feel got to be kep’ to yourself.”
  5. #32
    “And her joy was nearly like sorrow.”
  6. #33
    “I’m gettin’ tired way past where sleep rests me.”
  7. #34
    “I’m jus’ pain covered with skin.”
  8. #35
    “Our people are good people; our people are kind people. Pray God some day kind people won’t all be poor.”
  9. #36
    “If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he needs it ‘cause he feels awful poor inside hisself, and if he’s poor in hisself, there ain’t no million acres gonna make him feel rich, an’ maybe he’s disappointed that nothin’ he can do ‘ll make him feel rich.”
  1. #37
    “A large drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud, like a bloody rag, hung over the spot of its going. And dusk crept over the sky from the eastern horizon, and darkness crept over the land from the east.”
  2. #38
    “Up ahead they’s a thousan’ lives we might live, but when it comes it’ll on’y be one.”
  3. #39
    “There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do.”
  4. #40
    “Perhaps the less we have, the more we are required to brag.”
  5. #41
    “But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe.”
    John Steinbeck
    East of Eden
  6. #42
    “People like you to be something, preferably what they are.”
  7. #43
    “Lennie, who had been watching, imitated George exactly. He pushed himself back, drew up his knees, embraced them, looked over to George to see whether he had it just right.”
  8. #44
    “A guy sets alone out here at night, maybe readin’ books or thinkin’ or stuff like that.”
  9. #45
    “For two bits I’d shove out of here. If we can get jus’ a few dollars in the poke we’ll shove off and go up the American River and pan gold. We can make maybe a couple of dollars a day there, and we might hit a pocket.”
  1. #46
    “It ain’t no lie. We’re gonna do it. Gonna get a little place an’ live on the fatta the lan’.”
  2. #47
    “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
  3. #48
    “She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken.”
  4. #49
    “Her hazel eyes seemed to have experienced all possible tragedy and to have mounted pain and suffering like steps into a high calm and a superhuman understanding.”
  5. #50
    “Death was a friend, and sleep was death’s brother.”
  6. #51
    “But you jus’ tell an’ try to get this guy canned and we’ll tell ever’body, an’ then will you get the laugh.”
  7. #52
    “Tonight I’m gonna lay right here and look up. I like it.”
  8. #53
    “And from her great and humble position in the family she had taken dignity and a clean calm beauty. From her position as healer, her hands had grown sure and cool and quiet; from her position as arbiter she had become as remote and faultless in judgment as a goddess. She seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever really deeply wavered or despaired the family would fall, the family will to function would be gone.”
  9. #54
    “When his Aunt Clara died, Lennie just come along with me out workin’. Got kinda used to each other after a little while.”
  1. #55
    “Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love.”
  2. #56
    “I gotta think about that. We was always gonna do it by ourselves.”
  3. #57
    “I’m scared of stuff so nice. I ain’t got faith. I’m scared somepin ain’t so nice about it.”
  4. #58
    “She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken. And since Tom and the children could not know hurt or fear unless she acknowledged hurt and fear, she has practiced denying them in herself.”
  5. #59
    “His ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought.”
  6. #60
    “And it’d be our own, an’ nobody could can us. . . . An’ if a fren’ come along, why we’d have an extra bunk, an’ we’d say, ‘Why don’t you spen’ the night?′ An’ . . . he would.”
  7. #61
    “But better than joy was calm. Imperturbability could be depended upon.”
  8. #62
    “You’re bound to get idears if you go thinkin’ about stuff.”
  9. #63
    “And since, when a joyful thing happened, they looked to see whether joy was on her, it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials.”
  10. #64
    “She seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever really deeply wavered or despaired the family would fall, the family will to function would be gone.”
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