John Steinbeck

United States writer noted for his novels about agricultural workers (1902-1968)

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It would be absurd if we did not understand both angels and devils, since we invented them.
A book is like a man -- clever and dull, brave and cowardly, beautiful and ugly. For every flowering thought there will be a page like a wet and mangy mongrel, and for every looping flight a tap on the wing and a reminder that wax cannot hold the feathers firm too near the sun.
Even while I protest the assembly-line production of our food, our songs, our language, and eventually our souls, I know that it was a rare home that baked good bread in the old days. Mother's cooking was with rare exceptions poor, that good unpasteurized milk touched only by flies and bits of manure crawled with bacteria, the healthy old-time life was riddled with aches, sudden death from unknown causes, and that sweet local speech I mourn was the child of illiteracy and ignorance. It is the nature of a man as he grows older, a small bridge in time, to protest against change, particularly change for the better.
How can we live without our lives? How will we know its us without our past?
I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything.
I know this--a man got to do what he got to do.
Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.
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.
In every bit of honest writing in the world, there is a base theme. 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 nearly always leads to love.
It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thoughts or action we should remember our dying and try so to live, that our death brings no pleasure on the world.
Lord, how the day passes! It is like a life, so quickly when we don't watch it, and so slowly if we do.
Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments.
No one wants advice -- only corroboration.
Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts... perhaps the fear of a loss of power.
Texas is not a state -- it's a state of mind.
The discipline of the written word punishes both stupidity and dishonesty.
The fields were fruitful and starving men moved on the roads. The granaries were full and the children of the poor grew up rachitic.
The new American finds his challenge and his love in the traffic-choked streets, skies nested in smog, choking with the acids of industry, the screech of rubber and houses leashed in against one another while the town lets wither a time and die.
The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.
Writers are a little below the clowns and a little above the trained seals.

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