8.02.2006

A Quick Quote

"Lee sighed. He had worked so hard, so tenderly, and his work seemed to have succeeded. He said softly, 'We're a violent people, Cal. Does that seem strange to you that I include myself? Maybe it's true that we are all descended from the restless, the nervous, the criminals, the arguers and brawlers, but also the brave and independent and generous. If our ancestors had not been that, they would have stayed in their home plots in the other world and starved over the squeezed-out soil.' ...

"Lee went on, 'That's why I include myself. We all have that heritage, no matter what old land our fathers left. All colors and blends of Americans have somewhat the same tendencies. It's a breed - selected out by accident. And so we're overbrave and overfearful - we're kind and cruel as children. We're overfriendly and at the same time frightened of strangers. We boast and are impressed. We're oversentimental and realistic. We are mundane and materialistic - and do you know you know of any other country that acts for ideals? We eat too much. We have no taste, no sense of proportion. We throw our energy about like waste. In the old lands they say of us that we go from barbarism to decadence without an intervening culture. Can it be that our critics have not the key or the language of our culture? That's what we are, Cal - all of us. You aren't very different.'"

- John Steinbeck
East of Eden, which I finished last night, sobbing like a baby.

3 comments:

Castle Rocker said...

Writers are what keep this spinning crazy world from crashing and breaking into a million insignificant pieces across the galaxy.

Dylan said...

Writers and accountants. - rdt

Dylan said...

And gravity. Oops. I meant to type, "gravy." - rdt