Thursday, July 25, 2024

Best 100 Quotes By John Steinbeck


1.“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.”

2.“A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ.”

3.“A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.”

4.“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”

5.“People like you to be something, preferably what they are.”

6.“Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”

7.“No man really knows about other human beings. The best he can do is to suppose that they are like himself.”

8.“All great and precious things are lonely.”

9.“A man so painfully in love is capable of self-torture beyond belief.”

10.“There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do.”

11.“It would be absurd if we did not understand both angels and devils, since we invented them.”

12.“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”

13.“Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.”

14.“But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.”

15.“But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed – because ‘Thou mayest.”

16.“I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s

17.“If you’re in trouble, or hurt or need – go to the poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help – the only ones.”

18.“And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.”

19.“A guy needs somebody―to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. I tell ya, I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick.”

20.“All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.”

21.“We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the neverending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.”

22.“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

23.“It was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials.”

24.“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.”

25.“I shall revenge myself in the cruelest way you can imagine. I shall forget it.”

26.“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”

27.“Don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens – The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”

28.“When a child first catches adults out — when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not always have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just — his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child’s world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.”

29.“An unbelieved truth can hurt a man much more than a lie. It takes great courage to back truth unacceptable to our times. There’s a punishment for it, and it’s usually crucifixion.”

30.“I was born lost and take no pleasure in being found.”

31.“When a man says he does not want to speak of something he usually means he can think of nothing else.”

32.“I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. . . . Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil. . . . There is no other story. 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?”

33.“A man without words is a man without thought.”

34.“There’s more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty.”

35.“Can you honestly love a dishonest thing?”

36.“Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.”

37.“People who are most afraid of their dreams convince themselves they don’t dream at all.”

38.“It has always seemed strange to me…The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

39.“Perhaps the less we have, the more we are required to brag.”

40.“Do you take pride in your hurt? Does it make you seem large and tragic? …Well, think about it. Maybe you’re playing a part on a great stage with only yourself as audience.”

41.“it’s awful not to be loved. It’s the worst thing in the world…It makes you mean, and violent, and cruel.”

42.“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.”

43.“It’s a hard thing to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it.”

44.“I guess there are never enough books.”

45.“You’ve seen the sun flatten and take strange shapes just before it sinks in the ocean. Do you have to tell yourself every time that it’s an illusion caused by atmospheric dust and light distorted by the sea, or do you simply enjoy the beauty of it?”

46.“To be alive at all is to have scars. ”

47.“Perhaps it takes courage to raise children..”

48.“My imagination will get me a passport to hell one day.”

49.“and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”

50.“When two people meet, each one is changed by the other so you’ve got two new people.”

51.“How can we live without our lives? How will we know it’s us without our past?”

52.“Anything that just costs money is cheap.”

53.“You know how advice is – you only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyways.”

54.“Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids.”

55.“The quality of owning freezes you forever in “I,” and cuts you off forever from the “we.”

56.“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.”

57.“I wonder why progress looks so much like destruction.”

58.“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.”

59.“Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.”

60.“I am happy to report that in the war between reality and romance, reality is not the stronger.”

61.“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.”

62.“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.”

63.“Being at ease with himself put him at ease with the world.”

64.“You’re bound to get idears if you go thinkin’ about stuff”

65.“There are no ugly questions except those clothed in condescension.”

66.“No one who is young is ever going to be old.”

67.“When a condition or a problem becomes too great, humans have the protection of not thinking about it. But it goes inward and minces up with a lot of other things already there and what comes out is discontent and uneasiness, guilt and a compulsion to get something–anything–before it is all gone.”

68.“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.”

69.“There are as many worlds as there are kinds of days, and as an opal changes its colors and its fire to match the nature of a day, so do I.”

70.“And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected.”

71.“I suppose our capacity for self-delusion is boundless.”

72.“Men really do need sea-monsters in their personal oceans”

73.“So many old and lovely things are stored in the world’s attic because we don’t want them around us and we don’t dare throw them out.”

74.“Don’t make everyone know about your sadness.”

75.“No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselves that it is true and true of us.”

76.“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you

77.“If a story is not about the hearer, he will not listen. And here I make a rule—a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last.”

78.“Death was a friend, and sleep was Death’s brother.”

79.“Farewell has a sweet sound of reluctance. Good-by is short and final, a word with teeth sharp to bite through the string that ties past to the future.”

80.“You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself.”

81.“Don’t you dare take the lazy way. It’s too easy to excuse yourself because of your ancestry. Don’t let me catch you doing it! Now — look close at me so you will remember. Whatever you do, it will be you who do.”

82.“His ear heard more than what was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought.”

83.“How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only in his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children? You can’t scare him–he has known a fear beyond every other.”

84.“I guess I’m trying to say, Grab anything that goes by. It may not come around again.”

85.“I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”

86.“Maybe– maybe love makes you suspicious and doubting. Is it true that when you love a woman you are never sure– never sure of her because you aren’t sure of yourself? ”

87.“It is one of the triumphs of the human that he can know a thing and still not believe it.”

88.“Up ahead they’s a thousan’ lives we might live, but when it comes it’ll on’y be one.”

89.“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate.”

90.“Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance.”

91.“We can shoot rockets into space but we can’t cure anger or discontent. ”

92.“Muscles aching to work, minds aching to create – this is man.”

93.“Our people are good people; our people are kind people. Pray God some day kind people won’t all be poor.”

94.“Man has a choice and it’s a choice that makes him a man.”

95.“Don’t you love Jesus?’ Well, I thought an’ I thought an’ finally I says, ‘No, I don’t know nobody name’ Jesus. I know a bunch of stories, but I only love people.”

96.“Intention, good or bad, is not enough.”

97.“Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It’s just in their head. They’re all the time talkin’ about it, but it’s jus’ in their head.”

98.“Luck, you see, brings bitter friends.”

99.“It is not good to want a thing too much. It sometimes drives the luck away. You must want it just enough, and you must be very tactful with Gods or the gods.”

100.“I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything.”

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