John Steinbeck

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Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Stupid
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I wonder why progress looks so much like destruction.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Progress
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I was born lost and take no pleasure in being found.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Pleasure
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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.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Fear
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I find out of long experience that I admire all nations and hate all governments
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Hate
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I think everyone in the world to a large or small extent has felt rejection. And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with the crime guilt- and there is the story of mankind.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Revenge
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It's almost impossible to read a fine thing without wanting to do a fine thing.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Impossible
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Being at ease with himself put him at ease with the world.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Ease
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I know a little bit about a great many things and not enough about any one to make a living in these times.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Littles
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This I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Freedom
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I should have known I am the rain. I am the land and I am the rain. The grass will grow out of me in a little while.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Rain
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Up ahead they's a thousan' lives we might live, but when it comes it'll on'y be one.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Might
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The break would never come as long as fear could turn to wrath.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Wrath
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it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Laughter
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[He] fell right into the oldest conviction in the world-- that the girl you are in love with can't possibly be anything but true and honest.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Girl
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Americans are much more American than they are Northerners, Southerners, Westerners, or Easterners ... California Chinese, Boston Irish, Wisconsin German, yes, Alabama Negroes, have more in common than they have apart ... The American identity is an exact and provable thing.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Boston
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I find it valid to understand man as an animal before I am prepared to know him as a man.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Animal
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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.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Lonely
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Men really need sea-monsters in their personal oceans. An ocean without its unnamed monsters would be like a completely dreamless sleep.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Ocean
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A man so painfully in love is capable of self-torture beyond belief.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Love Is
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Courage and fear were one thing too.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Fear
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But I think that because they trusted themselves and respected themselves as individuals, because they knew beyond doubt that they were valuable and potentially moral units -- because of this they could give God their own courage and dignity and then receive it back. Such things have disappeared perhaps because men do not trust themselves anymore, and when that happens there is nothing left except perhaps to find some strong sure man, even though he may be wrong, and to dangle from his coattails.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Strong
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I've done my damndest to rip a reader's nerves to rags, I don't want him satisfied.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Rip
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But you can't start. Only a baby can start. You and me - why, we're all that's been. The anger of a moment, the thousand pictures, that's us. This land, this red land, is us; and the flood years and the dust years and the drought years are us. We can't start again.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Baby
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Once you have lived in New York and made it your home, no place else is good enough
- John Steinbeck
Collection: New York
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Change was everywhere. People were gone, or changed, and that was almost like being gone.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: People
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It is possible, even probable, to be told a truth about a place, to accept it, to know it and at the same time not to know anything about it.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Accepting
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Orange and speckled and fluted nudibranchs slide gracefully over the rocks, their skirts waving like the dresses of Spanish dancers.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Nature
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On all levels American society is rigged. I am troubled by the cynical immorality of my country. It cannot survive on this basis.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Country
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There are people who will say that this whole account is a lie, but a thing isn't necessarily a lie even if it didn't necessarily happen.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Lying
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You're buying years of work, toil in the sun; you're buying a sorrow that can't talk.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Years
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And the people listened, and their faces were quiet with listening. The story tellers, gathering attention into their tales, spoke in great rhythms, spoke in great words because the tales were great, and the listeners became great through them.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: People
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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
Collection: Men
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Misfortune is a fact of nature acceptable to women, especially when it falls on other women.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Fall
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Men seem to be born with a debt they can never pay no matter how hard they try.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Men
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It's one of the great fallacies, it seems to me, that time gives much of anything but years and sadness to man.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Sadness
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The sale of souls to gain the whole world is completely voluntary and almost unanimous...but not quite.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Soul
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At about 10 o'clock in the morning the sun threw a bright dust-laden bar through one of the side windows and in and out of the beam flies shot like rushing stars.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Morning
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Montana seems to me to be what a small boy would think Texas is like from hearing Texans
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Boys
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The ancient commission of the writer has not changed. He is charged with exposing our many grievous faults and failures, with dredging up to the light our dark and dangerous dreams for the purpose of improvement.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Dream
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Hard-covered books break up friendships. You loan a hard covered book to a friend and when he doesn’t return it you get mad at him. It makes you mean and petty. But twenty-five cent books are different.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Book
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One man was so mad at me that he ended his letter, "Beware. You will never get out of this world alive."
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Life
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Evening of a hot day started the little wind to moving among the leaves. The shade climbed up the hills toward the top. On the sand banks the rabbits sat as quietly as little gray, sculptured stones.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Moving
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Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. If Casy knowed, why, I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad an’—I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry n’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build—why, I’ll be there.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Kids
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Our people are good people; our people are kind people. Pray God some day kind people won't all be poor.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Wrath
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I saw in their eyes something I was to see over and over in every part of the nation- a burning desire to go, to move, to get under way, anyplace, away from any Here. They spoke quietly of how they wanted to go someday, to move about, free and unanchored, not toward something but away from something. I saw this look and heard this yearning everywhere in every states I visited. Nearly every American hungers to move.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Moving
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There's something desirable about anything you're used to as opposed to something you're not.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Used
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A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Travel
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No one who is young is ever going to be old.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Eden