Steinbeck's Take on Love


It's no big secret. John Steinbeck has been, and will always be, my favorite writer. His prose is not too sparse, not too gaudy. His plots are surprising and powerful. Since I first read Of Mice and Men in sixth grade, I've been hooked.

Recently, I read a quote from the Nobel Prize-winning Steinbeck in Reader's Digest on the subject of love. He wrote beautiful and complicated love stories, like Cannery Row. The kind of love the great author was talking about here, however, transcends romantic feelings.

"There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you--of kindness and consideration and respect--not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn't know you had."--Steinbeck: A Life in Letters, edited by Elaine Steinbeck and Robert Wallsten (Penguin)
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