A Bringer of New Things

Musings on personal growth, books, motherhood, writing, and more.

Thought-provoking Quotes from The Grapes of Wrath


As I mentioned in my last post, I just read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck for the first time. I loved it! It’s beautifully written, both on the sentence level and the plot level, and full of joy, sadness, meaning, and–most of all–vivid humanity. Several passages stood out to me as quotes worth sharing:

On What Is Holy and Good

“‘I ain’t gonna preach….I ain’t gonna baptize. I’m gonna work in the fiel’s, in the green fiel’s, an’ I’m gonna be near to folks. I ain’t gonna try to teach ‘em nothin’. I’m gonna try to learn. Gonna learn why folks walks in the grass, gonna hear ‘em talk, gonna hear ‘em sing…Gonna cuss an’ swear an’ hear the poetry of folks talkin’. All that’s holy, all that’s what I didn’t understan’. All them things is the good things.’”

On Being a Rock for Your Family

[Description of Ma] “She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken. And since old Tom and the children could not know hurt or fear unless she acknowledged hurt and fear, she had practiced denying them in herself. And since, when a joyful thing happened, they looked to see whether joy was on her, it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials. But better than joy was calm. Imperturbability could be depended upon. And from her great and humble position in the family she had taken dignity and a clean calm beauty. From her position as healer, her hands had grown sure and cool and quiet; from her position as arbiter she had become as remote and faultless in judgment as a goddess. She seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever really deeply wavered or despaired the family would fall.”

On the Wisdom that Comes with Age

[Spoken by Ma] “‘When you’re young, Rosasharn, ever’thing that happens is a thing all by itself. It’s a lonely thing. I know, I ‘member, Rosasharn.’ Her mouth loved the name of her daughter. ‘You’re gonna have a baby, Rosasharn, and that’s somepin to you lonely and away. That’s gonna hurt you, an’ the hurt’ll be lonely hurt…They’s a time of change, an’ when that comes, dyin’ is a piece of all dyin’, and bearin’ is a piece of all bearin’, an’ bearin’ an’ dyin’ is two pieces of the same thing. An’ then things ain’t lonely any more. An’ then a hurt don’t hurt so bad, ‘cause it ain’t a lonely hurt no more, Rosasharn. I wisht I could tell you so you’d know, but I can’t.’ And her voice was so soft, so full of love, that tears crowded into Rose of Sharon’s eyes, and flowed over her eyes and blinded her.”

On the Corruption of Money

[Speaking of the landowners] “And all their love was thinned with money.”

“For the quality of owning freezes you forever into ‘I’, and cuts you off forever from the ‘we.’”

“If you’re in trouble or hurt or need—go to poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help—the only ones.”

On Desperation

“‘It don’t take no nerve to do somepin when there ain’t nothin’ else you can do.’

On the Understanding of Children

“…the children listening with their souls to words their minds do not understand.”

On Companionship

“Two men are not as lonely and perplexed as one.”

4 comments on “Thought-provoking Quotes from The Grapes of Wrath

  1. emilievardaman
    August 31, 2015

    Yes, quite a book. Lot’s of good quotes in it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ruth
    August 31, 2015

    I think I was your age when I read this book. Time for a reread!


  3. Pingback: September Mind Cleanup | A Bringer of New Things

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This entry was posted on August 31, 2015 by in Discoveries from Learning, Quotes and tagged , , , , .
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