Quotes

Quotes from East of Eden

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

I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart.

We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the neverending longing for love.

Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone.

I believe the greatest gift I can conceive of having from anyone is to be seen by them, heard by them, to be understood and touched by them.

You can’t buy love, but you can pay heavily for it.

It’s a laugh and a tear, and both are better than nothing.

All great things are only a number of small things that have been carefully collected together.

Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.

Men are flesh and blood. They have their moments of doubt, moments where they question everything they’ve known.

The mind, that’s your business. What happened to you happened to you, but it mustn’t spoil your mind. Even animals have that much sense.

He said, ‘You became more human, and that is life. If you try to remember, you will lose. Memory is not what the heart desires. The heart wants only the presents, my dear, because at present, if it is open at all, the heart is open now.’

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.

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

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.’

I wanted to walk straight on through the red grass and over the edge of the world, which could not be very far away.

The best-loved story of all I have read appears to be ‘Cinderella’, for you see it everywhere, though I have never seen it making anyone happier.

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

She could not love him because he represented the world from which she had escaped, and yet she had to do something lest she allow her anger to harden into hate.

Sometimes I think it’s harder to live in some small town than it is anywhere else.

Remember, thou mayest.

All great and precious things are lonely.

I think these are the best times of life – when you’re cognitive of birth and as you get old and weary and tarnished and mellowed, softened with time.

I know you are weak and killable, but in the meanwhile, you are alive.

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

Being deprived of something makes it holy sometimes.

If we ever win, I’ll carve out for you a kingdom. I’ll carve you a kingdom the way they used to.

I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents.

You can boast about anything if it’s all you have.

The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears.

Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite.

It is one of the triumphs of the human that he can know a thing and still not believe it.

I’m tired of the split hoof and the fiery crown.

You can boast about anything if it’s all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast.”

How can you be frightened by everything you ever wanted?”

Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.”

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.’

My little urchin tells me, ‘Why, Daddy, it’s really not your style at all. It’s very animator-ic.

It is true that we are weak and sick and ugly and quarrelsome, but if that is all we ever were, we would millenniums ago have disappeared from the face of the earth.

They will look back and say I was a good man. I won’t say so myself, because that is vanity, and nothing is worth vanity.”

No, ‘ifs’ be fishes of every hue, I’d swim the ocean blue.

A boy’s thought’s bubble forth like a spring; but a man’s go down in a current, deep and swift.

You don’t understand the Bible because you are interpreting it through your own narrow experiences.

Don’t you think one of us would remember if we had been seen?

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.

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.

“How can you be fright­ened by food you’ve eaten twice?”

I think if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.

The words of this Scripture would have been enough to save my father.

An unbelieved truth can hurt a man much more than a lie.


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