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Selected Quotes of John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California on February 27, 1902. He was raised in a modest family: his father was a treasurer and his mother was a school teacher. He developed an affinity with writing since a very young age, and went on to become one of the most respected novelists and a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer winner.

John Steinbeck was a student of English literature at Stanford University, but in 1925, he dropped out of college. Shortly afterwards, he went to New York City and tried his luck as a writer. In 1928, after an unsuccessful spell in New York, Steinbeck returned to California where he worked as a tour guide.

In 1929, John Steinbeck published his first novel, Cup of Gold. Between 1930 and 1935, Steinbeck published some short stories and novellas. In 1935, he published Tortiall Flat which earned him the first success as a noivelist. From there onwards, he went on to publish some major novels and non-fiction works which went on to mark the history of American literature: Of Mice and Men, Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, The winter of our Discontent, Travels with Charley: In Search of America.

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John Steinbeck Biography – An American Writer

In between writing his books, John Steinbeck was also a war reporter for the New York Herald Tribune.

During his career, Steinbeck won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for fiction for The Grapes of Wrath. In 1962, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

John Steinbeck’s writing explores various social issues such as poverty, migration, the struggle of daily life, the American Dream and the search for identity, among many other major themes which shaped the society and individuals during the period known as the lost Generation.

Best Quotes From John Steinbeck

The discipline of the written word punishes both stupidity and dishonesty.

John Steinbeck

No one wants advice – only corroboration.

John Steinbeck

I have owed you this letter for a very long time-but my fingers have avoided the pencil as though it were an old and poisoned tool.

John Steinbeck

One can find so many pains when the rain is falling.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

Sectional football games have the glory and the despair of war, and when a Texas team takes the field against a foreign state, it is an army with banners.

John Steinbeck

Syntax, my lad. It has been restored to the highest place in the republic.

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

I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature.

John Steinbeck

I’ve lived in good climate, and it bores the hell out of me. I like weather rather than climate.

John Steinbeck

Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased.

John Steinbeck

In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.

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

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

John Steinbeck

So in our pride we ordered for breakfast an omelet, toast and coffee and what has just arrived is a tomato salad with onions, a dish of pickles, a big slice of watermelon and two bottles of cream soda.

John Steinbeck

It has always been my private conviction that any man who puts his intelligence up against a fish and loses had it coming.

John Steinbeck

Writers are a little below clowns and a little above trained seals.

John Steinbeck

Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, yet hunger gnaws you. You have been loved, but your yearning wanders in new fields. And to prod all these there’s time, the Bastard Time.

John Steinbeck

The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.

John Steinbeck

We spend our time searching for security and hate it when we get it.

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 on the world.

John Steinbeck

Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the bastard.

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

These words dropped into my childish mind as if you should accidentally drop a ring into a deep well. I did not think of them much at the time, but there came a day in my life when the ring was fished up out of the well, good as new.

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

It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.

John Steinbeck

It is true that we are weak and sick and ugly and quarrelsome but if that is all we ever were, we would millenniums ago have disappeared from the face of the earth.

John Steinbeck

I have never smuggled anything in my life. Why, then, do I feel an uneasy sense of guilt on approaching a customs barrier?

John Steinbeck

The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.

John Steinbeck

In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable.

John Steinbeck

Man is the only kind of varmint sets his own trap, baits it, then steps in it.

John Steinbeck

Man, unlike anything organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments.

John Steinbeck

Time is the only critic without ambition.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

I am impelled, not to squeak like a grateful and apologetic mouse, but to roar like a lion out of pride in my profession.

John Steinbeck

Give a critic an inch, he’ll write a play.

John Steinbeck

Four hoarse blasts of a ship’s whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to tapping.

John Steinbeck

A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ.

John Steinbeck

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

John Steinbeck

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.

John Steinbeck

It has always seemed strange to me… the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.

John Steinbeck

I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.

John Steinbeck

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It is one of the paradoxes of American literature that our writers are forever looking back with love and nostalgia at lives they couldn’t wait to leave.

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