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Top Quotes by John Steinbeck on power, life, death, loneliness and other things.

100 Top Quotes By John Steinbeck, The Author Of East Of Eden

Quick Facts

Famous As: Author

Born On: February 27, 1902

Died On: December 20, 1968

Born In: Salinas

Died At Age: 66

They say, it is very easy to make people cry but very difficult to make them smile. There have been abundant of writers who have made their readers emotional with their content but only a handful who have chuckled the deepest and hidden laughter from within. And John Steinbeck is one amongst them. A master in his own rights, Steinbeck’s works is a part of the American literary cannon. His comic novels ‘Tortilla Flat’, ‘Cannery Row’, ‘East of Eden’, ‘Mice and Men’ and ‘The Red Pony’ are considered legendary work in comic fiction today. Though Steinbeck gained popularity in most of his works, his best bit or the magnum opus of his career came with the novel, ‘The Grapes of Wrath’. It earned him the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. In his lifetime, John Steinbeck wrote more than twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books, and five collections of short stories. In 1962, Steinbeck was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. Over the years, he earned the reputation of ‘a giant of American letters’. His works are widely read abroad and many of his works are considered classics of Western literature. Just as his works that frequently explored the themes of fate and injustice, the same is seen in his quotes that stress a lot on life values and social themes. Explore this section and find out some of the best quotes by John Steinbeck.

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I wonder how many people I've looked at all my life and never seen.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stuff people do.

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

All great and precious things are lonely.

John Steinbeck

I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.

John Steinbeck

All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

I guess there are never enough books.

John Steinbeck

There's more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty.

John Steinbeck

When two people meet, each one is changed by the other so you've got two new people.

John Steinbeck

To be alive at all is to have scars.

John Steinbeck

Anything that just costs money is cheap.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

Don't worry about losing. If it is right, it happens - The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

John Steinbeck

Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts... perhaps the fear of a loss of power.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

Can you honestly love a dishonest thing?

John Steinbeck

People who are most afraid of their dreams convince themselves they don't dream at all.

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

A man without words is a man without thought.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

You know how advice is - you only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyways.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

Don't make everyone know about your sadness.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

Perhaps it takes courage to raise children..

John Steinbeck

You're bound to get idears if you go thinkin' about stuff

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

I wonder why progress looks so much like destruction.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

How can we live without our lives? How will we know it's us without our past?

John Steinbeck

..it's awful not to be loved. It's the worst thing in the world...It makes you mean, and violent, and cruel.

John Steinbeck

I guess I'm trying to say, Grab anything that goes by. It may not come around again.

John Steinbeck

No one who is young is ever going to be old.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

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?

John Steinbeck

And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.

John Steinbeck

Intention, good or bad, is not enough.

John Steinbeck

He never fell, never slipped back, never flew.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

Death was a friend, and sleep was Death's brother.

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

Trouble with mice is you always kill 'em.

John Steinbeck

Man has a choice and it's a choice that makes him a man.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

I suppose our capacity for self-delusion is boundless.

John Steinbeck

Muscles aching to work, minds aching to create - this is man.

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

Being at ease with himself put him at ease with the world.

John Steinbeck

We can shoot rockets into space but we can't cure anger or discontent.

John Steinbeck

It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.

John Steinbeck

What a frightening thing is the human, a mass of gauges and dials and registers, and we can only read a few and those perhaps not accurately.

John Steinbeck

I think I love you, Cal." -Abra I'm not good." -Cal Because you're not good." -Abra

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

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.

John Steinbeck

They're a dark people with a gift for suffering way past their deserving. It's said that without whiskey to soak and soften the world, they'd kill themselves. (Irish)

John Steinbeck

Men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.

John Steinbeck

There are no ugly questions except those clothed in condescension.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

I'll want to hear,' Samuel said. 'I eat stories like grapes.

John Steinbeck

Thoughts are slow and deep and golden in the morning.

John Steinbeck

It is the hour of pearl—the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself.

John Steinbeck

But you must give him some sign, some sign that you love him... or he'll never be a man. All his life he'll feel guilty and alone unless you release him.

John Steinbeck

The free exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.

John Steinbeck

And, of course, people are interested only in themselves. If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen.

John Steinbeck

Our people are good people; our people are kind people. Pray God some day kind people won't all be poor.

John Steinbeck

Somewhere in the world there is a defeat for everyone. Some are destroyed by defeat, and some made small and mean by victory. Greatness lives in one who triumphs equally over defeat and victory.

John Steinbeck

For the most part people are not curious except about themselves.

John Steinbeck

We know what we got, and we don't care whether you know it or not.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

We could live offa the fatta the lan'.

John Steinbeck