quote by John Steinbeck

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

— John Steinbeck

Eye-opening East Of Eden quotations

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

This I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.

There are no ugly questions except those clothed in condescension.

We only have one story. All novels, all poetry are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil.


This I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected.

All great and precious things are lonely.

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

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

To a man born without conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous.

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.


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.

I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for that is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.

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.

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.

A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean question: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well - or ill?


There's more beauty in the truth even if it is dreadful beauty.

To a monster the norm must seem monstrous, since everyone is normal to himself.

I think of my life as a kind of music, not always good music but still having form and melody.

When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influences and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror.

There's a capacity for appetite... that a whole heaven and earth of cake can't satisfy


You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.

But 'Thou mayest!'! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win

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?

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

No one who is young is ever going to be old.


There is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter.

Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man.

In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved.

... a man is a very important thing-maybe more important than a star.

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

The storytellers at the city gate twist life so that it looks sweet to the lazy and the stupid and the weak, and this only strengthens their infirmities and teaches nothing, cures nothing, nor does it let the heart soar.


At the end of history the whole earth has become the Garden of God again.

Death and decay and suffering are gone. . . . Jesus will make the world our perfect home again. We will no longer be living 'east of Eden,' always wandering and never arriving. We will come, and the father will meet us and embrace us, and we will be brought into the feast.

In East of Eden, John Steinbeck wrote that there's never been a great creative collaboration. When the Beatles first burst on the scene, I thought they were proving him wrong. Later, we learned that Lennon and McCartney had each composed their pop masterpieces separately, individually. So it goes.

I don't think there is a single sentence in this whole book [East of Eden] that does not either develop character, carry on the story or provide necessary background.

I think the difference between a lie and a story is that a story utilizes the trappings and appearance of truth for the interest of the listener as well as of the teller. A story has in it neither gain nor loss. But a lie is a device for profit or escape. I suppose if that definition is strictly held to, then a writer of stories is a liar - if he is financially fortunate.

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