Quotes from East of Eden

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Some of my favorite quotes:
“I’ve studied and maybe learned how things are, but I’m not even close to why they are. And you must not expect to find that people understand what they do. So many things are done instinctively,..”

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

“Maybe we all have in us a secret pond where evil and ugly things germinate and grow strong. But this culture is fenced in, and the swimming brood climbs up only to fall back. Might it not be that in the dark pools of some men the evil grows 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?” (This reminds me of Gollum in Lord of the Rings)

“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 bleakness for a time, and so did the brothels.”

“…It is a beauty – a dreadful kind of beauty…”

“…I wonder whether you ever felt that something invisible is all around you….”

“(___) 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…..(___) did not simply throw up her hands and give up. It was much worse than that. She went right on doing and being what she was – without the glow. The people who loved her ached for her, seeing her try, and they got trying for her. (___)’s friends were good and loyal but they were human, and humans love to feel good and they hate to feel bad….It is easy to find a logical and virtuous reason for not doing what you don’t want to do…..And the women who had thought they wanted dresses never realized that what they had wanted was happiness….”

“Perhaps the best conversationalist in the world is the man who helps others to talk.”

“And once a boy has suffered rejection, he will find rejection even where it does not exist – or, worst, will draw it forth from people simply by expecting it.”

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