Quotes from East of Eden by John Steinbeck

I recently finished East of Eden, and I wanted to share with you some of my favorite quotes (with page numbers!).

“‘There’s a capacity for appetite that a whole heaven and earth of cake can’t satisfy.'” -Samuel Hamilton

“‘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…'” -Lee 302

“‘I do not believe all men are destroyed. I can name you a dozen who are not, and they are the ones the world lives by. It is true of the spirit as it is true of battles–only the winners are remembered. Surely most men are destroyed, but there are others who like pillars of fire guide frightened men through the darkness.'” -Samuel 307

“Each storm waited courteously until its predecessor sank beneath the ground.” -narrator 308

“‘My father said she was a strong woman, and 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 almost indestructible.'”-Lee 354

“‘”There’s more beauty in the 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.”‘” -Lee’s father 356
“In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love.” -narrator 412-13

“We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending 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 fresh new face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.” -narrator 413

“With the evening the air was so full of their [frogs’] song that it was a kind of roaring silence. It was a veil, a background, and its sudden disappearance, as after a clap of thunder, was a shocking thing…In their millions the frog songs seemed to have a beat and a cadence, and perhaps it is the ears’ function to do this just as it is the eyes’ business to make stars twinkle.” -narrator 426

“‘All great and precious things are lonely.'” -Lee 520

“‘Maybe it’s true that we are all descended from the restless, the nervous, the criminals, the arguers and the brawlers, but also the brave and independent and generous.'” -Lee 568


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