John Steinbeck

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The sad ones are those who waste their energy in trying to hold it back, for they can only feel bitterness in loss and no joy in gain.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Loss
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And finally comes culture, which is entertainment, relaxation, transport out of the pain of living.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Pain
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...to find where you are going, you must know where you are.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Where You Are
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Pictures... are also opinions... [they] set down what the camera operator sees and he sees what he wants to see and what he loves and hates and pities and is proud of.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Hate
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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.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Nature
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There is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Fall
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If I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an' work, an' no trouble.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Jobs
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A wife is like a children's movie; always under-appreciated and without either, life would be incomplete.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Thank You
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For the most part people are not curious except about themselves.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: People
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It is the nature of a person as he/she grows older to protest against change, particularly changes for the better.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Change For The Better
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I wonder why it is that when I plan a route too carefully, it goes to pieces, whereas if I blunder along in blissful ignorance aimed in a fancied direction I get through with no trouble.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Ignorance
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I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Dog
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Life cannot be cut off quickly. One cannot be dead until the things he changed are dead. His effect is the only evidence of his life. While there remains even a plaintive memory, a person cannot be cut off, dead. And he thought, “It’s a long slow process for a human to die. We kill a cow, and it is dead as soon as the meat is eaten, but a man’s life dies as a commotion in a still pool dies, in little waves, spreading and growing back toward stillness.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Memories
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Guys like us got nothing to look ahead to
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Guy
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A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then-the glory-so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Song
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You stay out here a little while, an' if you smell any roses, you come let me smell, too.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Smell
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This monster of a land, this mightiest of nations, this spawn of the future, turns out to be the macrocosm of microcosm me.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Land
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To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Country
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A man who tells secrets or stories must think of who is hearing or reading, for a story has as many versions as it has readers.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Reading
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There are two kinds of people in the world, observers and non-observers.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Football
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He is so stupid you can't trust him with an idea.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Sarcastic
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In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Life
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In my heart there may be doubt that I deserve the Nobel award over other men of letters whom I hold in respect and reverence, but there is no question of my pleasure and pride in having it for myself.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Heart
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I think bullfights are for men who aren't very brave and wish they were.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Men
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It is the nature of a man as he grows older, a small bridge intime, toprotest againstchange, particularlychangefor the better.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Time
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Failure is a state of mind. It's like one of those sand traps an ant lion digs. You keep sliding back. Takes one hell of a jump to get out of it.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Mind
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My wife, my Mary, goes to her sleep the way you would close the door of a closet. So many times I have watched her with envy. Her lovely body squirms a moment as though she fitted herself into a cocoon. She sighs once and at the end of it her eyes close and her lips, untroubled, fall into that wise and remote smile of the Ancient Greek gods. She smiles all night in her sleep, her breath purrs in her throat, not a snore, a kitten's purr... She loves to sleep and sleep welcomes her.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Wise
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There used to be a thing or a commodity we put great store by. It was called the People. Find out where the People have gone. I don't mean the square-eyed toothpaste-and-hair-dye people or the new-car-or-bust people, or the success-and-coronary people. Maybe they never existed, but if there ever were the People, that's the commodity the Declaration was talking about, and Mr. Lincoln.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Mean
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When a man says he does not want to speak of something he usually means he can think of nothing else.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Mean
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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 old Tom and the children could not know hurt or fear unless she acknowledged hurt or fear, she had practiced denying them in herself. And since, when a joyful thing happened, they looked to see whether joy was on her, it was her habit to build laughter out of inadequate materials....She seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever deeply wavered or despaired the family would fall.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Strong
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Yes, you will. And I will warn you now that not their blood but your suspicion might build evil in them. They will be what you expect of them…I think when a man finds good or bad in his children he is seeing only what he planted in them after they cleared the womb." "You can’t make a race horse of a pig." "No," said Samuel, "but you can make a very fast pig.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Horse
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American cities are like badger holes, ringed with trash--all of them--surrounded by piles of wrecked and rusting automobiles, and almost smothered in rubbish. Everything we use comes in boxes, cartons, bins, the so-called packaging we love so much. The mountain of things we throw away are much greater than the things we use.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Cities
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People don't want advice...only corroboration.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: People
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I am sifting my memories, the way men pan the dirt under a barroom floor for the bits of gold dust that fall between the cracks. It's small mining-- small mining. You're too young a man to be panning memories, Adam. You should be getting yourself some new ones, so that the mining will be richer when you come to age.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Memories
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We have never understood why men mount the heads of animals and hang them up to look down on their conquerers. Possibly it feels good to these men to feel superior to animals, but does it not seem that if they were sure of it they would not have to prove it? Often a man who is afraid must constantly demonstrate his courage and, in the case of the hunter, must keep a tangible record of his courage.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Courage
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Nobody changes. Nobody gets hurt.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Hurt
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The great concepts of oneness and of majestic order seem always to be born in the desert.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Order
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I need a dog pretty badly. I dreamed of dogs last night. They sat in a circle and looked at me and I wanted all of them.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Dog
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The study of history, while it does not endow with prophecy, may indicate lines of probability.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Doe
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Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Great Writing
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We have to make a mark, even if it's only a scribble.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Challenges
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The story [Henny-Penny] has the best opening in all literature-"The sky is falling," cried Henny-Penny, "and a piece of it fell on my tail.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Fall
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The dairy man had a Ph.D. in mathematics, and he must have had some training in philosophy. He liked what he was doing and he didn't want to be somewhere else - one of the few contented people I met in my whole journey.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Philosophy
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A stilted heron labored up into the air and pounded down the river.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Air
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Then it is better, sir, to love whom one cannot have?" "Probably better," Lancelot said. "Certainly safer.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Said
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I remember as a child reading or hearing the words 'The Great Divide' and being stunned by the glorious sound, a proper sound for the granite backbone of a continent. I saw in my mind escarpments rising into the clouds, a kind of natural Great Wall of China.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Children
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Every man in a bank hates what the bank does and yet the bank does it.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Hate
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Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Fighting
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Trouble with mice is you always kill 'em.
- John Steinbeck
Collection: Ems