Wide World of Quotes > John Steinbeck Quotes


John Steinbeck
American novelist
(1902-68)



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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.
-- The Grapes of Wrath (1939), ch. 1, opening words

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.
-- The Grapes of Wrath (1939), ch. 14

I know this -- a man got to do what he got to do.
-- The Grapes of Wrath (1939), ch. 18

Okie use' ta mean you was from Oklahoma. Now it means you're a dirty son-of-a-bitch. Okie means you're scum. Don't mean nothing itself, it's the way they say it.
-- The Grapes of Wrath (1939), ch. 18

And where a number of men gathered together, the fear went from the faces, and anger took its place. And the women sighed with relief, for they knew it was all right -- the break had not come; and the break would never come as long as fear turned to wrath.
-- The Grapes of Wrath (1939), ch. 18

The comfortable people in tight houses felt pity at first, and then distaste, and finally hatred for the migrant people.
-- The Grapes of Wrath (1939), ch. 18

Well, maybe like Casy says, a fellow ain't got a soul of his own, but only a piece of a big one -- an then -- ... The it don' matter. Then I'll be all aroun' in the dark. I'll be everywhere -- wherever you look. Wherever they's fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever they's a cop beating up a guy, I'll there. If Casy knowed, why, I'll be in the way guys yell wehn they're mad an' -- I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry an' they know supper's ready. And when our folks eat the stuff they raise an' live in the houses they build -- why, I'll be there. See?
-- The Grapes of Wrath (1939), ch. 28

Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.
-- Cannery Row (1945), introduction and opening words of the book

Doc is the owner and operator of the Western Biological Laboratory... He wears a beard and his face is half Christ and half satyr and his face tells the truth.
-- Cannery Row (1945), ch. 5

Two generations of Americans know more about the Ford coil than the clitoris, about the planetart system of gears than about the solar system of stars.
-- Cannery Row (1945), ch. 11


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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