John Steinbeck Best Quotes 💬

John Steinbeck’s quotes are characteristically rich, complex, and baffling, just like the man himself.

John Steinbeck

American Author (1902-1968)

John Steinbeck was a man with a wealth of experience, thanks to his enduring personality and life. In terms of his quotes – which were mostly refined through the reality of wars, economic hardships, and travels, John Steinbeck’s words are today valued as sage wisdom and are being appreciated for having historical relevance.

On Understanding Humanity

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

This valuable quote belongs to John Steinbeck, and it comes from ‘The Winter of Our Disconnect,’ the last book he ever wrote eight years before he passed on in 1968.

The book portrays three generations of the Hawley family, and how they go from grace to grass economically, with the accompanying impacts the overplay of events have on Hawley’s wife and children.

Steinbeck was always a man who showed great interest in people, more specifically, the ordinary, struggling American people with limited resources. But beyond that, Steinbeck’s idea for the creation of this quote goes well past the book to cover his understanding of humans and aspects that he founds lacking in himself and in his characters.

On Friendship

I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you…

This is a great excerpt from Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ and one of the many examples of what a true friendship Steinbeck’s characters, George and Lennie, share.

Surviving through the Great Depression was tough enough for everyone, especially for people like George and Lennie, who have limited means, but Steinbeck uses this quote to show how these peasants find new energy, a rejuvenated will to survive by channeling the energy in their companionship as a major source of a drive never to give up.

On the Futility Of War

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

John Steinbeck may have lived through some of the most historic wars ever fought and even had to report live from such events. He is not a fan of wars. And this quote right here is a concise expression of his strong aversion to all things conflict and chaos.

John Steinbeck believed that when humans bring themselves to the point of using war as a recourse to settling quarrels and disputes, it was the lowest, most demeaning thing they could do, especially for being a higher animal known for its brains.

The author was in the mind frame that our brain is so sophisticated and quite able to proffer solutions to every problem and challenge and able to offer peaceable solutions to things like war.

On Writing

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

John Steinbeck used this quote while speaking on the art of prolific writing. The author believed that you never get all the ideas in one place, moment, or time and that every great story is a compilation of ideas thought out and gathered through different times and experiences.

These components would then come together to make a complete, whole package. This quote is partly a strong motivation for budding writers who find it hard to wrap their heads around the art of thinking out, safekeeping and handling ideas for their writing projects, but this moral lesson goes beyond just writing to other disciplines.

On Values

Anyone that just costs money is cheap.

John Steinbeck loved the freedom, good life, power, and respect that money offers, and spent the majority of his life chasing this reality. Still, it can’t be said that he achieved all such dreams because he died not having enjoyed or trapped the full benefits his books had to offer.

John Steinbeck respected money, but his value for man outweighs those he could ever place on any commodity or thing. In his mind, humans are the biggest utility entity he could ever imagine, and there are so many values that man can create and muster. Money is just one of such.

Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
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