John Steinbeck Quotes

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.

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

A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

No one wants advice – only corroboration.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

Time is the only critic without ambition.

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

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

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.

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