Passages: East of Eden, John Steinbeck

Original copyright 1952. Centennial edition (from Steinbeck’s birth in 1902), Penguin Books, copyright 2002

Chapter 1

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

– p. 4


“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.”

– p. 6


Chapter Two

“Samuel had no equal for soothing hysteria and bringing quiet to a frightened child. It was the sweetness of his tongue and the tenderness of his soul. And just as there was a cleanness about his body, so there was a cleanness in his thinking. Men coming to his blacksmith shop to talk and listen dropped their cursing for awhile, not from any kind of restraint but automatically, as though this were not the place for it.”

– p. 11


“The early settlers took up land they didn’t need and couldn’t use; they tool up worthless land just to own it. And all proportions changed. A man who might have been well-to-to on ten acres in Europe was rat-poor on two thousand in California.”

– p. 12


“They and the coyotes lived clever, disparaging, submarginal lives. They landed with no money, no equipment, no tools, no credit, and particularly with no knowledge of the new country and no technique for using it. I don’t know whether it was a divine stupidity or a great faith that let them do it. Surely such venture is neatly gone from the world. And the families did survive and grow. They had a tool or a weapon that is also nearly gone, or perhaps it is only dormant for a while. It is argued that because they believed in a just, moral God they could put their faith there and let the smaller securities take care of themselves. But I think that because they trusted themselves and respected themselves as individuals, because they knew beyond doubt that they were valuable and potentially moral units – because of this they could give God their own courage and dignity and then receive it back. Such things have disappeared perhaps because men do not trust themselves any more, and when that happens there is nothing left except perhaps to find some strong sure man, even though he may be wrong, and to dangle from his coattails.”

– p. 12


Chapter Three

“Alice never complained, quarreled, laughed, or cried. Her mouth was trained to a line that concealed nothing and offered nothing too. But once when Adam was quite small he wandered silently into the kitchen. Alice did not see him. She was darning socks and she was smiling. Adam retired secretly and walked out of the house and into the woodlot to a sheltered place behind a stump that he knew well. He settled deep between the protecting roots. Adam was as shocked as though he had come upon her naked. He breathed excitedly, high against his throat. For Alice had been naked – she had been smiling. He wondered how she dared such wantonness. And he ached toward her with a longing that was passionate and hot. He did not know what it was about, but all the long lack of holding, of rocking, of caressing, the hunger for breast and nipple, and the softness of a lap, and the voice-tone of love and compassion, and the sweet feeling of anxiety – all of these were in his passion, and he did not know it because he did not know such things existed, so how could he miss them?”

– p. 22


Chapter Four

“He set down his loneliness and perplexities, and he put on paper many things he did not know about himself.”

– p. 35


Chapter Five

In small, cut-off communities such a man is always regarded with suspicion until he has proved he is no danger to others. A shining man like Samuel could, and can, cause a lot of trouble. He might, for example, prove too attractive to the wives of men who knew they were dull. Then there were his education and his reading, the books he bought and borrowed, his knowledge of things that could not be eaten or worn or cohabitated with, his interest in poetry and his respect for good writing. If Samuel had been a rich man like the Thornes or the Delmar’s, with their big houses and wide flat lands, he would have had a great library.”

– p. 38


“The first few years after Samuel came to Salinas Valley there was a vague distrust of him. And perhaps Will as a little boy heard talk in the San Lucas store. Little boys don’t want their fathers to be different from other men. Will might have picked up his conservatism right then. Later, as the other children came along and grew, Samuel belonged to the valley, and it was proud of him in the way a man who owns a peacock is proud. They weren’t afraid of him any more for he did not seduce their wives or lure them out of sweet mediocrity. The Salinas Valley grew fond of Samuel, but by that time Will was formed.”

– p. 38


“Tom, the third son, was most like his father. He was born in fury and he lived in lightning. He was a giant in joy and enthusiasms. He didn’t discover the world and its people, he created them. When he read his father’s books, he was the first. He lived in a world shining and fresh and as uninspected as Eden on the sixth day. His mind plunged like a colt in a happy pasture, and when later the world put up fences he plunged against the wire, and when the final stockade surrounded him, he plunged right through it and out. And as he was capable of giant joy, so did he harbor huge sorrow, so that when his dog died the world ended.”

– p. 39


“It was a well-blanced family, with its conservatives and its radicals, its dreamers and its realists. Samuel was well pleased with the fruit of his loins.”

– p. 43


Chapter Seven

“His voice had grown soft and he had merged many accents and dialects into his own speech, so that his speech did not seem foreign anywhere.”

– p. 56


Chapter Eight

“I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents some you can see, misshapen and horrible, with huge heads or tiny bodies; summer born with no arms, no legs, some with three arms, some with tails or mouths in odd places. Students and no one’s fault, as used to be thought. Once they were considered the visible punishment for concealed sins.

And just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or a malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produces a malformed soul?

Monsters are variations from the accepted normal to a greater or less degree. As a child may be born without an arm, someone may be born without kindness or the potential of conscience. A man who loses his arms in an accident has a great struggle to adjust himself to the lack, but one born without arms suffers only from people who find him strange. Having never had arms, he cannot miss them. Sometimes when we are little we imagine how it would be to have wings, but there is no reason to suppose it is the same feeling birds have. No, to a monster the norm it must seem monstrous, since everyone is normal to himself. To the inner monster it must be even more obscure, since he has no visible thing to compare with others. To a man born without conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.”

– p. 71


“Nearly everyone in the world has appetites and impulses, trigger emotions, islands of selfishness, lusts just beneath the surface. And most people either hold such thing as in check or indulge then secretly. Cathy knew not only these impulses in others but how to use them for her own gain. It is quite possible that she did not believe in any other tendencies in humans, for while she was preternaturally alert in some directions she was completely blind in others.

Cathy learned when she was very young that sexuality with all its attendant yearnings and pans, jealousies and taboos, is the most disturbing impulse humans have. And in that day it was even more disturbing than it is now, because the subject was unmentionable and unmentioned. Everyone concealed that little hell in himself, while publicly pretending it did not exist – and when he was caught up in it he was completely helpless. Cathy learned that by the manipulation and use of this one part of people she could gain and keep great power over nearly anyone. It was at once a weapon and a threat. It was irresistible. And since the blind helplessness seems to have never fallen on Cathy it is probable that she had very little of the impulse herself and indeed felt a contempt for those who did. And when you think of it in one way, she was right.

What freedom men and women could have, were they not constantly tricked and trapped and enslaved and tortured by their sexuality! The only drawback in that freedom is that without it one would not be human. One would be a monster.”

– p. 74


Chapter Nine

“I can’t understand why a girl like you – ” he began, and fell right into the oldest conviction in the world – that the girl you are in love with can’t possibly be anything but true and honest.”

– p. 92


Chapter Eleven

“Charles had more respect for Adam after he knew about the prison. He felt the warm for his brother you can only feel for one who is not perfect and therefore no target for your hatred. Adam took some advantage of it too.”

– p. 109


Chapter Twelve

“For the world was changing, and sweetness is gone, and virtue too. Where he had crept on a corroding world, and what was lost – good manners, ease and beauty? Ladies were not ladies anymore and you couldn’t trust a gentleman’s word.”

p. 127


“Oh, strawberries don’t taste as they used to and the thighs of women have lost their clutch!”

– p. 128


“Oh, but strawberries will never taste so good again and the thighs of women will have lost their clutch!”

– p.129

Chapter 13

“When our food and clothing and housing are all born in the complication of mass production, mass method is bound to get into our thinking and to eliminate all other thinking. In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, or politics, and even our religion, so that’s some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea of God. This in my time is the danger. There’s a great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused.

At such a time it seems natural and good for me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?”

– pp. 130-131


“Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The precociousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.

And now the forces marshalled around the concept of the group have declared a war of extermination on that preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning hammerblows of conditioning, the free, roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken.

And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for; the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for that is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.”

– p. 131


“Maybe we all have in us a secret pond where evil and ugly things germinate and grow strong. But this culture is fenced, and the swimming brood climbs up only to fall back. Might it not not be that in the dark pools of some men the evil grow strong enough to wriggle over the fence and swim free? Would not such a man be our monster, and are we not related to him in our hidden water? It would be absurd if we did not understand both angels and devils, since we invented them.”

– p. 132


“Samuel went on, My Tom is a hell-bent boy. Always takes more on his plate then he can eat. Always plants more than he can harvest. Pleasures too much, sorrows too much. Some people are like that.

– p. 141


That’s why I’m talking to you. You are one of the rare people who can separate your observation from your perception. You see what is, where most people see what they expect.

– p. 161


“The two men road slowly back toward the Trask house. The afternoon was golden, the yellow dust in the sky gilded the light.”

– p. 166


“They rode on in silence for a time. Adam went on, I came out of the army like dragging myself muddy out of a swamp . I wandered for a long time before going home to remembered place I did not love.

– p. 168


Chapter Seventeen

“And summer passed into a hot and fragrant autumn.”

– p. 183


“The lore has not died out of the world, and you will still find people who believe that soup will cure any hurt or illness and is not a bad thing to have for a funeral either.”

– p. 196


Chapter Eighteen

“Three things are are never any good – farming, fishing, and hunting – compared to other years, that is.”

– p. 202


“The best sheriff was not the best fighter but the best diplomat. And Monterey County had a good one. He had a brilliant gift for minding his own business.”

– p. 210


Chapter Nineteen

“The church and the whorehouse arrived in the Far West simultaneously. And each would have been horrified to think it was a different facet of the same thing. But surely they were both intended to accomplish the same thing: the singing, the devotion, the poetry of the churches took a man out of his weakness for a time, and so did the brothels.”

– p. 215


Chapter Twenty Two

And you have left them fatherless. Can you feel the cold at nightof a lone child? What a warm is there, what bird song, what possible morning can be good? Don’t you remember, Adam, how it was, even a little?

– p. 257


“Sometimes your opponent can help you more than your friend.”

– p. 259


“When a man says he does not want to speak of something he usually means he can think of nothing else.”

– p. 260


“Names are a great mystery. I’ve never known whether the name is molded by the child the child changed to fit the name. But you can be sure of this – whenever human has a nickname it is a proof of the name given him was wrong.”

– p. 261


Here we are – the oldest story. If it troubles us it must be that we find the trouble in ourselves

– p. 265


No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselves that it is true and true of us. What a great burden of guilt men have!

Samuel said to Adam, And you have tried to take it all.

Lee said, So do I, so does everyone. We gather our arms full of guilt as though it were a precious stuff. It must be that want it that way.

Adam broke in, It makes me feel better, not worse.

How do you mean? Samuel asked.

Well, every little boy thinks he invented sin. Virtue we think we learn, because we are told about it. But sin is our own designing.

Yes, I see. But how does this story make it better?

Because, Adam said excitedly, we are descended from this. This is our father. Some of our guilt is absorbed in our ancestry. What chance did we have? We are the children of our father. It means we aren’t the first. It’s an excuse, and there aren’t enough excuses in the world.

Not convincing ones anyway, said Lee. Else we would long ago have wiped out guilt, and the world would not be filled with sad, punished people.

pp. 266-267


And, of course, people are interested only in themselves. If the story is not about the hearer he will not listen. And I here make a rule – a great and lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting – only the deeply personal and familiar.

I think this is the best-known story {Cain and Abel} in the world because it is everybody’s story. I think it is the symbol story of the human soul. I’m feeling my way now – don’t jump on me if I’m not clear. The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears. I think everyone in the world to a large or small extent has felt rejection. And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in response to the rejection, and with the crime guilt – and there is the story of mankind. I think that if rejection could be amputated, the human would not be what he is. Maybe there would be fewer crazy people. I am sure in myself there would not be many jails. It is all there – the start, the beginning. One child, refused the love he craves, kicks the cat and hides his secret guilt; and another steals so that money will make him loved; and a third conquers the world – and always the guilt and revenge and more guilt. The human is the only guilty animal. How wait! Therefore I think this old and terrible story is important because it is a chart of the soul – the secret, rejected, guilty soul.

pp. 268-269


Chapter Twenty Three

“Joe has gone east to invent a new profession called advertising. Joe’s very faults were virtues in this field. He found that he could communicate his material daydreaming – and, properly applied, that is all advertising is.”

– p. 275


“We lived in Salinas and we knew when Tom had arrived – I think he always arrived at night – because under our pillows, Mary’s and mine, there would be packages of gum. And gum was valuable in those days just as a nickel was valuable. There were months when he did not come, but every morning as soon as we awakened we put our hands under our pillows to see. And I still do it, and it as been many years since there has been gum there.”

– p. 276


“Tom had beautiful tackle and made all his own flies. But he didn’t seem to care whether he caught trout or not. He needed not to triumph over animals.”

– p. 279


“It was natural that their minds leaped on and recoiled, and they would not speak of that, but their minds said, There can’t be any world without Samuel.

How could we think about anything without knowing what he thought about it.

What would the spring be like, or Christmas, or rain? There couldn’t be a Christmas.”

– p. 283


“Sometimes a man wants to be stupid of it lets him do a think his cleverness forbids.”

– p. 285


Chapter Twenty Four

“Places were very important to Samuel. The ranch was a relative, and when he left it he plunged a knife into a darling.”

– p. 291


You know how it is, Samuel said. When you know a friend is there you do not go to see him. Then he’s gone and you blast your conscience to shreds that you did not see him.”

– p. 292


They’re like two sides of a medal. Cal is sharp and dark and watchful, and his brother – well, he’s a boy you like before he speaks and like more afterwards.

And you don’t like Cal?

I find myself defending him – to myself. He’s fighting for his life and his brother doesn’t have to fight.”

– p. 293


Do you take pride in your hurt? Samuel asked. Does it make you seem large and tragic?

I don’t know.

Well, think about it. Maybe you’re playing a part on a great stage with only yourself as audience.

– p. 293


I can’t tell you how to live your life, Samuel said, although I do be telling you how to live it. I know that it might be better for you to come out from under your might-have-beens, into the winds of the world. And while I tell you, I am myself sifting my memories, the way men pan the dirt under a barroom floor for the bits of gold dust that fall between the cracks. It’s small mining – small mining. You’re too young a man to be panning memories, Adam. You should he getting yourself some new ones, so that the mining will be richer when you come to new ones.

Adam’s face was bent down, and his jawbone jutted below his temples from clenching.”

– p. 294


I know the ‘shoulds,’ although I never do them, Adam. I always know the ‘shoulds.’ You should try to find a new Cathy. You should let the new Cathy kill the dream Cathy – let the two of them fight it out. And you, sitting by, should marry your mind to the winner. That’s the second-best should. The best would be to search out and find some fresh new loveliness to cancel out the old.”

– p. 295


Don’t you see? he cried. The American Standard translation ‘orders’ men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning, that men will surely triumph over sin. But 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. Don’t you see?

Yes, I see. I do see. But you do not believe this is divine law. Why do you feel it’s importance?

Ah! said Lee. I’ve wanted to tell you this for a long time.I even anticipated your questions and I am well prepared. Any writing which has influenced the thinking and the lives of innumerable people is important. Now, there are millions in their sects and churches who feel the order, ‘Do thou,’ and throw their weight into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predistination in ‘Thou shalt.’ Nothing they may do can interfere with what will be. But ‘Thou mayest!’ Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods,for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he still has a great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.

– p. 301-302


And I feel that a man is a very important thing – maybe more important than a star. This is not theology. I have no bent towards gods. But 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 – because ‘Thou mayest.'”

– p. 302


“Lee said, Maybe everyone is too rich. I have noticed that there is no dissatisfaction like that of the rich. Feed a man, clothe him, put him in a good house, and he will die of despair.

– p. 306


Thou mayest rule over sin, Lee. That’s it. I do not believe all men are destroyed. I can name you a dozen who were 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 guise frightened men through the darkness. Thou mayest, thou mayest! What glory! It is true that we are weak and sick and quarrelsome, but if that is all we ever were, we would, millenniums ago, have disappeared from the face of the earth. A few remnants of fossilized jawbone, some broken teeth in strata in limestone, would be the only mark man would have left of his existence in the world. But the choice, Lee, the choice of winning! I had never understood it or accepted it before. Do you see why I told Adam tonight? I exercised the choice. Maybe I was wrong, but by telling him I also forced him to live or get off the pot.

– pp. 306-307


“Tom was alone on the ranch, and even that dust heap was rich and lovely and the flints were hidden in the grass and the Hamilton cows were fat and the Hamilton sheep sprouted grass on their damp backs.

At noon on March 15 Tom sat on the bench outside the forge. The sunny morning was over, and gray water-bearing clouds sailed in over the mountains from the ocean, and their shadows slid under them on the bright earth.”

– p. 308


“The clouds against the evening sky were the gray of rats, and the air was not damp but dank. I guess the difference is that dampness comes down but darkness rises up out of rot and fermentation.”

– p. 312


Chapter 26

“I believe there are techniques of the human mind whereby, in its dark deep, problems are examined, rejected or accepted. Some activities sometimes concern facets a man does not know he has. How often one goes to sleep troubled and full of pain, not knowing what causes the travail, and in the morning a whole new direction and clearness is there, maybe the result of the black reasoning. And again there are mornings when ecstasy bubbles in the blood, and the stomach and chest are tight and electric with joy, and nothing in the thoughts to justify it or cause it.”

– p. 324


Chapter Thirty

Ho, said Cal. Wouldn’t you like to know! But he was uneasy.

Aron said slowly, I wouldn’t want to know that. I’d like to know why you do it. You’re always at something. I just wonder why you do it. I wonder what it’s good for.

A pain pierced Cal’s heart. His planning suddenly seemed mean and dirty to him. He knew that his brother had found him out. And he felt a longing for Aron to love him. He felt lost and hungry and he didn’t know what to do.”

– p. 372


I don’t want to hurt your feelings.

They aren’t hurt. You want to talk about this letter. Then talk, and I will know from your talk whether I can offer an honest opinion or whether it is better to reassure you in your own.

– p. 373


I’ve always disliked deception. Your course is drawn. What you will do is written – written in every breath you have ever taken. I’ll speak to you any way I want to. I’m crochety. I feel sand under my skin. I’m looking to the ugly smell of old books and the sweet smell of good thinking. Faced with two sets of morals, you’ll follow your training. What you call thinking won’t change it. The fact that your wife is a whore in Salinas won’t change a thing.

– p. 376


Chapter Thirty One

You don’t believe I brought you the letter because I don’t want your money. You don’t believe I loved you. And the men who come in here with their ugliness – you don’t believe those men could have goodness and beauty in them. You see only one side, and you think – more than that, you’re sure, that’s all there is.

– p. 382


Chapter Thirty Two

“Dessie was not beautiful. Perhaps she wasn’t even pretty, but she had the glow that makes men follow a woman in the hope of reflecting a little of it.”

– p. 387


“Dessie’s friends were good and loyal but they were human, and humans love to feel good and hate to feel bad. In time the Mrs. Morrisons found unassailable reasons for not going to the little house by the bakery. They weren’t disloyal. They didn’t want to be sad as much as they wanted to be happy. It is easy to find a logical and virtuous reason for not doing what you don’t want to do.

– p. 387


Chapter Thirty Three

“The green lasted on the hills far into June before the grass turned yellow.”

– p. 397


She thought, How pure he is, how unfit for a world that even she knew more about than he did. A dragon killer, he was, a rescuer of damsels, and his small sins seemed so great to him that he felt unfit and unseemly. She wished her father were here. Her father had felt greatness in Tom. Perhaps he would know now how to release it out of its darkness and let it fly free.”

– p. 399

Chapter Thirty Four

“A child may ask, What is the world’s story about? And a grown man or woman may wonder, What way will the world go? How does it end and while we’re at it, what’s the story about?

I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one, that has frightened and inspired us, so that we live in a Pearl White serial of continuing thought and wonder. Humans are caught – in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too – in a net of good and evil. I think this is the only story we have and that it occurs on all levels of feeling and intelligence. Virtue and vice were warp and woof of our first consciousness, and they will be the fabric of our last, and this despite any changes we may impose on field and river and mountain, on economy and manners. There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well – or I’ll?”

– p. 411


“In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their top most layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted shortcuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying of cold horror. It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try to live so that our death brings no pleasure to the world.

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 the evil must constantly respawn, well good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice always has a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.

– pp. 412-413


Chapter Thirty Five

I hope I’m not so small-souled as to take satisfaction in being missed.“.

– p. 415


Chapter Thirty Six

“And in the midst of his flood of pleasure a sorrow came down on him in a sense of loss, of dreadful loss. Aron was puzzled. He inspected the cloud of sadness. If his mother was alive, his father was a liar. If one was alive, the other was dead.”

– p. 427


Chapter Thirty Seven

“The growing century was shucking Adam out of his shell. He subscribed to the Atlantic Monthly and the National Geographic. He joined the Masons and seriously considered the Elks. The new icebox fascinated him. He bought a text book on refrigeration and began to study it.”

– p. 429


“As is usually true of a man of one idea, he became obsessed.”

– p. 429


Somehow he made a man better than he was, said Adam.

Lee looked up from his darning egg. Perhaps the best conversationalist in the world is the man who helps others to talk.

– p. 431


Chapter Thirty Eight

“Cal very naturally completed for attention and affection the only way he knew – by trying to imitate Aron. And what was charming in the blonde ingeniousness of Aron became suspicious and unpleasant and the dark-faced, slit-eyed Cal. And since he was pretending, his performance was not convincing. Where Aron was received, Kyle was rebuffed for doing or saying exactly the same thing.

And as a few strokes on the nose will make a puppy head shy, so a few rebuffs will make a boy shy all over. But whereas the puppy will cringe away or roll on its back, groveling, a little boy may cover his shyness nonchalance, with bravado, or with secrecy. And once the boy has suffered rejection, he will find rejection even where it does not exist – or, worse, will draw it forth from people simply by expecting it.”

– p. 440


“Things do not change with a change of scenery. In Salinas, Cal had no more friends than he had in King City. Associates he had, and authority and some admiration, but friends he did not have. He lived alone and walked alone.”

– p. 441


“I’ve thought about it for a great many hours and I still don’t know. She is a mystery. It seems to me that she is not like other people. There is something she lacks. Kindness maybe, or conscience. You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself. And I can’t feel her. The moment I think about her my feeling goes into darkness.

– p. 444


don’t you dare take the lazy way. It’s too easy to excuse yourself because of your ancestry. Don’t let me catch you doing it! Now – look closely at me so you will remember. Whatever you do, it will be you who do it – not your mother.

– p. 445


” Cal, watching Adam’s face, had seen his mind leap into the past for a lie. Cal didn’t hate the lie but the necessity for telling it. Cal lied for reasons of profit of one kind or another. To be driven to a lie seem shameful to him. He wanted to shout, I know how you got it and it’s alright. But, of course, he did not. I’d like to hear about it, he said.”

– p. 446


Chapter Thirty Nine

” Cal said brokenly, I don’t think he could stand it. He hasn’t enough badness in him to stand it. He wanted to continue, – any more than you could, sir, but he left the last unsaid.”

– p. 454


Chapter Forty Three

“Once Adam had remarked on the quiet splendor of Lee’s clothes, and Lee had grinned at him. I have to do it, he said. One must be very rich to dress as badly as you do. The poor are forced to dress well.”

– p. 483


All right then. It’s hard to say now. I wish I’d said it then. I didn’t love Aron anymore.

Why not?

I’ve tried to figure it out. When we were children we lived in the story that we made up. But when I grew up the story wasn’t enough. I had to have something else, because the story wasn’t true anymore.

– p. 575


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