UK Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

March 10, 2015

Favourite Quotes: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck is one of my favourite authors and I simply love the way he writes. I've just finished reading Cannery Row and although it's only a short book I felt inspired to share some of my favourite passages - I'd like to think that if you enjoy these examples then you'd probably really enjoy the book as a whole. And don't worry, there aren't any "spoilers".

"Oh!" said Hazel and he cast frantically about for a peg to hang a new question on. He hated to have a conversation die out like this. He wasn't quick enough. While he was looking for a question Doc asked one. Hazel hated that, it meant casting about in his mind for an answer and casting about in Hazel's mind was like wandering alone in a deserted museum. Hazel's mind was choked with uncatalogued exhibits. He never forgot anything, but he never bothered to arrange his memories. Everything was thrown together like fishing-tackle in the bottom of a rowboat, hooks and sinkers and lines and lures and gaffs all snared up." (p. 30)

Mack said reprovingly to Hughie: 'Just because he doesn't run no dame naked through the streets in the daytime, you think Doc's celebrate.'
'What's celebrate?' Eddie asked.
'That's when you can't get no dame,' said Mack.
'I thought it was a kind of party,' said Jones. (p. 38)

"During the millennia that frogs and men have lived in the same world, it is probably that men have hunted frogs. And during that time a pattern of hunt and parry has developed. The man with his net or bow or lance or gun creeps noiselessly, as he things, towards the frog. The pattern requires that the frog sit very still and wait. The rules of the game require the frog to wait until the final flicker of a second, when the net is descending, when the lance is in the air, when the finger squeezes the trigger, then the frog jumps, plops int the water, swims to the bottom, and waits until the man goes way. That is the way it is done, the way it has always been done. Frogs have every right to expect it will always be done this way. […] But how could they have anticipated Mack's new method? How could they have foreseen the horror that followed?" (p. 76)

"People didn't like you for telling the truth. […] And so he stopped trying to tell the truth. […] Doc still loved true things, but he knew it was not a general love and it could be a very dangerous mistress." (p. 85)

"Henri the painter was not French and his name was not Henri. Also he was not really a pained. Henri had so steeped himself in stories of the Left Bank in Paris that he  lived there although he hand never been there." (p. 108)

"'It always seemed strange to me,' said Doc. 'The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding, and feelings are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism, and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.'"  (p. 115)

What book(s) are you reading at the moment?


1 comment

  1. I'm reading "Christmas Memories," hahahah. It's a history book about Christmas in America, from the 1920s through the 1960s.


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