John Steinbeck Quotes That Will Inspire You

Mayuri Meshram
By Mayuri Meshram  - Editor

Looking for John Steinbeck quotes that are sure to leave a lasting impact? If so, you’re in the right place. John Steinbeck was a master of crafting sentences that could capture the essence of the human experience and resonate with readers for generations.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most memorable John Steinbeck quotes and the timeless wisdom they offer.

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Who is John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was an American writer and novelist who is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Steinbeck is best known for his novels such as “The Grapes of Wrath” which won the Pulitzer Prize, and “Of Mice and Men.” His works often dealt with themes of poverty, social injustice, and the struggles of the working class.

Here are some well-known facts about John Steinbeck:

  • Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, in 1902, and he grew up in a rural setting that would later inspire much of his writing.
  • Steinbeck’s breakthrough novel, “Tortilla Flat,” was published in 1935 and won him critical acclaim.
  • The Grapes of Wrath,” Steinbeck’s novel about the struggles of migrant workers during the Great Depression, was published in 1939 and won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
  • Steinbeck passed away in 1968 in New York City at the age of 66.

Most Famous John Steinbeck Quotes

There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do.

John Steinbeck Quotes

I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.

All great and precious things are lonely.

John Steinbeck Quotes

Maybe everybody in the whole damn world is scared of each other.

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 Quotes

And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.

It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.

John Steinbeck Quotes

There’s more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty.

I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.

All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.

John Steinbeck Quotes

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?

My imagination will get me a passport to hell one day.

John Steinbeck Quotes

We could live offa the fatta the lan’.

And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.

Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids.

John Steinbeck Quotes

No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselves that it is true and true of us.

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

We know what we got, and we don’t care whether you know it or not.

John Steinbeck Quotes

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 anymore.

I was born lost and take no pleasure in being found.

People like you to be something, preferably what they are.

John Steinbeck Quotes

For the most part, people are not curious except about themselves.

John Steinbeck Quotes About Life, Love

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 almost always leads to love.

John Steinbeck Quotes

It would be absurd if we did not understand both angels and devils since we invented them.

Somewhere in the world, there is a defeat for everyone. Some are destroyed by defeat, and some are made small and mean by victory. Greatness lives in one who triumphs equally over defeat and victory.

Some men are friends with the whole world in their hearts, and there are others that hate themselves and spread their hatred around like butter on hot bread.

John Steinbeck Quotes

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 an audience.

Our people are good people; our people are kind people. Pray God some day kind people won’t all be poor.

John Steinbeck Quotes

And, of course, people are interested only in themselves. If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen.

I guess there are never enough books.

Some people think it’s an insult to the glory of their sickness to get well.

John Steinbeck Quotes

I eat stories like grapes.

The free exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.

But you must give him some sign, some sign that you love him… or he’ll never be a man. All his life he’ll feel guilty and alone unless you release him.

John Steinbeck Quotes

My imagination will get me a passport to hell one day.

As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.

The weight of knowledge is too great for one mind to absorb.

John Steinbeck Quotes

It is the hour of pearl—the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself.

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 to the world.

Thoughts are slow and deep and golden in the morning.

John Steinbeck Quotes

Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

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

There are no ugly questions except those clothed in condescension.

Inspirational John Steinbeck Quotes

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 Quotes

Socialism is just another form of religion, and thus delusional.

A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ.

John Steinbeck Quotes

They’re a dark people with a gift for suffering way past their deserving. It’s said that without whiskey to soak and soften the world, they’d kill themselves.

I know now why the confusion in government is not only tolerated but encouraged. I have learned. A confused person can make no clear demands.

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

John Steinbeck Quotes

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. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for this is the one thing that can by inspection destroy such a system.

Farewell has a sweet sound of reluctance. Good-by is short and final, a word with teeth sharp to bite through the string that ties the past to the future.

It would be absurd if we did not understand both angels and devils, since we invented them.

John Steinbeck Quotes

A man so painfully in love is capable of self-torture beyond belief.

I guess this is why I hate governments, all governments. It is always the rule, the fine print, carried out by fine-print men. There’s nothing to fight, no wall to hammer with frustrated fists.

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.

John Steinbeck Quotes

I’m in love with Montana. For other states, I have admiration, respect, recognition, and even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.

What a frightening thing is the human, a mass of gauges and dials and registers, and we can only read a few and those perhaps not accurately.

It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.

John Steinbeck Quotes

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

A woman holds dreadful power over a man who is in love with her, but she should realize that the quality and force of his love is the index of his potential contempt and hatred.

Being at ease with himself put him at ease with the world.

John Steinbeck Quotes

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.

I believe that love cannot be bought except with love.

We can shoot rockets into space but we can’t cure anger or discontent.

It was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials.

There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do.

Don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens – The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

There are as many worlds as there are kinds of days, and as an opal changes its colors and its fire to match the nature of a day, so do I.

Muscles aching to work, minds aching to create – this is a man.

Don’t you love Jesus?’ Well, I thought an’ I thought an’ finally I says, ‘No, I don’t know nobody name’ Jesus. I know a bunch of stories, but I only love people.

People who are most afraid of their dreams convince themselves they don’t dream at all.

So many old and lovely things are stored in the world’s attic because we don’t want them around us and we don’t dare throw them out.

It’s a hard thing to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it.

You know how advice is – you only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyways.

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.

Up ahead they’s a thousan’ lives we might live, but when it comes it’ll on’y be one.

His ear heard more than what was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought.[/alert-warning]

And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.

Most famous books of John Steinbeck

In addition to unforgettable quotes by John Steinbeck, he is also renowned for his novels that capture the struggles and triumphs of the human experience. Whether exploring the hardships of the Great Depression or the complexities of human relationships, Steinbeck’s works have left a lasting impact on readers around the world. Here are some of his most famous books:

Each of these books offers a unique perspective on the human condition, and reading them can be a transformative experience.

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By Mayuri Meshram Editor
Mayuri is a professional content writer, she loves motivating people and inspiring them to pursue their dreams. Sharing quotes, proverbs, and sayings of great authors to touch people's lives to make it better.