29+ quotes from East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Quotes from East of Eden

John Steinbeck ·  601 pages

Rating: (355.4K votes)


“I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart. I guess a loving woman is indestructible.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“All great and precious things are lonely.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. . . . Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil. . . . There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill?”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“When a child first catches adults out -- when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not always have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just -- his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child's world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“There's more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“Do you take pride in your hurt? Does it make you seem large and tragic? ...Well, think about it. Maybe you're playing a part on a great stage with only yourself as audience.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“My imagination will get me a passport to hell one day.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“People like you to be something, preferably what they are.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“A man so painfully in love is capable of self-torture beyond belief.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“It would be absurd if we did not understand both angels and devils, since we invented them.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed - because 'Thou mayest.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“An unbelieved truth can hurt a man much more than a lie. It takes great courage to back truth unacceptable to our times. There's a punishment for it, and it's usually crucifixion.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the neverending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“When a man says he does not want to speak of something he usually means he can think of nothing else.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“A man without words is a man without thought.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“Perhaps the less we have, the more we are required to brag.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“Perhaps it takes courage to raise children..”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“It’s a hard thing to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“..it's awful not to be loved. It's the worst thing in the world...It makes you mean, and violent, and cruel.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“No one who is young is ever going to be old.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“Just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul?

Monsters are variations from the accepted normal to a greater or a less degree. As a child may be born without an arm, so one may be born without kindness or the potential of conscience. A man who loses his arms in an accident has a great struggle to adjust himself to the lack, but one born without arms suffers only from people who find him strange. Having never had arms, he cannot miss them. To a monster the norm must seem monstrous, since everyone is normal to himself. To the inner monster it must be even more obscure, since he has no visible thing to compare with others. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


“Maybe-- maybe love makes you suspicious and doubting. Is it true that when you love a woman you are never sure-- never sure of her because you aren't sure of yourself? ”
― John Steinbeck, quote from East of Eden


About the author

John Steinbeck
Born place: in Salinas Valley, California, The United States
Born date February 27, 1902
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