Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by John Steinbeck. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.
John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. (February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was an American author and the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature winner "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." He has been called "a giant of American letters", and many of his works are considered classics of Western literature.
During his writing career, he authored 33 books, with one book coauthored alongside Edward Ricketts, including 16 novels, six non-fiction books, and two collections of short stories. He is widely known for the comic novels Tortilla Flat (1935) and Cannery Row (1945), the multi-generation epic East of Eden (1952), and the novellas The Red Pony (1933) and Of Mice and Men (1937). The Pulitzer Prize-winning The Grapes of Wrath (1939) is considered Steinbeck's masterpiece and part of the American literary canon. In the first 75 years after it was published, it sold 14 million copies.
Most of Steinbeck's work is set in central California, particularly in the Salinas Valley and the California Coast Ranges region. His works frequently explored the themes of fate and injustice, especially as applied to downtrodden or everyman protagonists.
All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.
Florida is a golden word...The very name Florida carried the message of warmth and ease and comfort. It was irresistible.
You don't even know where I'm going. I don't care. I'd like to go anywhere.
New York is an ugly city, a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal, its politics are used to frighten children, its traffic is madness, its competition is murderous.
But there is one thing about it -- once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough.
A man on a horse is spiritually, as well as physically, bigger than a man on foot.
The bank, the monster has to have profits all the time. It can't wait. It'll die. No, taxes go on. When the monster stops growing, it dies. It can't stay one size.
It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.
You know what it is? San Francisco is a golden handcuff with the key thrown away.
Being at ease with himself put him at ease with the world.
You know how advice is. You only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyway.
Open blooms like ballet-skirted ladies.
We gather our arms full of guilt as though it were precious stuff. It must be that we want it that way.
As with many people, Charles, who could not talk, wrote with fullness. He set down his loneliness and his perplexities, and he put on paper many things he did not know about himself.
It is astounding to find that the belly of every black and evil thing is white as snow. And it is saddening to discover how the concealed parts of angels are leprous.
We're sorry. It's not us. It's the monster. The bank isn't a man. The bank isn't like a man.
Yes, but the bank is only made of men.
But Doc had one mental habit he could not get over. When anyone asked a question, Doc thought he wanted to know the answer.
I've lived in a good climate, and it bores the hell out of me. I like weather rather than climate.
People who are most afraid of their dreams convince themselves they don't dream at all.
Socialism is just another form of religion, and thus delusional.
And the women who had thought they wanted dresses never realized that what they had wanted was happiness.
I had been practicing for the Depression a long time. I wasn't involved with loss. I didn't have money to lose, but in common with millions I did dislike hunger and cold.
I have noticed that there is no dissatisfaction like that of the rich. Feed a man, clothe him, put him in a good house, and he will die of despair.
It's one of the great fallacies, it seems to me, that time gives much of anything but years and sadness to man.
For how can you remember the feel of pleasure or pain or choking emotion? You can remember only that you had them.
A farmer cannot think too much evil of a good farmer.
In a world that was not easy for Alice to bear or understand, flies were the final and malicious burden laid upon her.
I wanta buy stuff. Stuff I don't need... Stuff settin' out there, you jus' feel like buyin' it whether you need it or not.
But think of the glory of the choice! That makes a man a man. A cat has no choice, a bee must make honey. There's no godliness there.
Tom's cowardice was as huge as his courage, as it must be in great men.
Man has become our greatest hazard, and our only hope.
Sexuality with all its attendant yearnings and pains, jealousies and taboos, is the most disturbing impulse humans have.
They had not grown up in the paradoxes of industry. Their senses were still sharp to the ridiculousness of the industrial life.
In human affairs of danger and delicacy successful conclusion is sharply limited by hurry.
We will rich soon, and you who handle poverty badly will handle riches equally badly... In poverty she is envious. In riches she may be a snob. Money does not change the sickness, only the symptoms.
Within that frame he went a long way and burned a deep scar.
What hidden, hoarded longings there are in all of us.
Trouble with mice is you always kill 'em.
We could live offa the fatta the lan'.
Well, I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy. I just like to know what your interest is.
I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.
Books ain't no good. A guy needs somebody -- to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody.
If I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an' work, an' no trouble.
I do love her, and that's odd because she is everything I detest in anyone else.
And the great owners, who had become through the might of their holdings both more and less than men.
The bank -- the monster has to have profits all the time. It can't wait. It'll die. No, taxes go on. When the monster stops growing, it dies. It can't stay one size.
To the heavens on the wings of a pig.
The names of places carry a charge of the people who named them.
Prayer never brought in no side-meat. Takes a shoat to bring in pork.
It gives a fella relief to tell, but it jus' spreads out his sin.
When two men live together they usually maintain a kind of shabby neatness out of incipient rage at each other. Two men alone are constantly on the verge of fighting, and they know it.
But Kino had lost his old world and he must clamber on to a new one. For his dream of the future was real and never to be destroyed, and he said I will go, and that made a real thing too.
The doctrine of our time is that man can't get along without a whole hell of a lot of stuff. You may not be preaching it, but you're living treason.
How can the poem and the stink and the grating noise -- the quality of light, the tone, the habit and the dream -- be set down alive?
Only God sees the sparrow fall, but even God doesn't do anything about it.
I wish to God I knew as much about writing as I did when I was 19. I was absolutely certain about most things then. Also, I suspect, more accurate.
I have wondered why is it that some people are less affected and torn by the verities of life and death that others.
It is one of the triumphs of the human that he can know a thing and still not believe it.
Oh, the strawberries don't taste as they used to and the thighs of women have lost their clutch!
I am writing this from what we Americans call Yurrp. In Yurrp writers are taken as seriously as Lana Turner's legs are in America -- a ridiculous situation.
The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or a malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul?
In writing, habit seems to be a much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration.
Kino heard the little splash of morning waves on the beach. It was very good -- Kino closed his eyes again to listen to his music.
The break would never come as long as fear could turn to wrath.
It's hard to split a man down the middle and always to reach for the same half.