John Dos Passos

(1896-1970 / Chicago, Illinois)

John Dos Passos Quotes

  • ''Breaking with old friends is one of the most painful of the changes in all that piling up of a multitude of small distasteful changes that constitutes growing older.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. The Ground We Stand On: Some Examples From the History of a Political Creed, sec. III, "On the White Porch of the Republic," ch. 5, "Citizen Barlow of the Republic of the World," Harcourt, Brace and Company (1941).
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  • ''The mind cannot support moral chaos for long. Men are under as strong a compulsion to invent an ethical setting for their behavior as spiders are to weave themselves webs.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. The Prospect Before Us, "The Preparation of a New Society," Houghton Mifflin Company (1950).
  • ''Apathy is one of the characteristic responses of any living organism when it is subjected to stimuli too intense or too complicated to cope with. The cure for apathy is comprehension.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. The Prospect Before Us, "The Preparation of a New Society," Houghton Mifflin Company (1950).
  • ''The creation of a world view is the work of a generation rather than of an individual, but we each of us, for better or for worse, add our brick to the edifice.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. The Prospect Before Us, "The Preparation of a New Society," Houghton Mifflin Company (1950).
  • ''To fight oppression, and to work as best we can for a sane organization of society, we do not have to abandon the state of mind of freedom. If we do that we are letting the same thuggery in by the back door that we are fighting off in front of the house.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. "The Writer As Technician," International Publishers (1935), ed. Henry Hart.
  • ''The jeweled stripes on the window ran straight down when the train stopped and got more and more oblique as it speeded up. The wheels rumbled in her head, saying Man-hattan Tran-sfer Man-hattan Tran-sfer.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Thoughts of Ellen Thatcher in Manhattan Transfer, Houghton Mifflin Company (1925 and 1953). This scene gives the novel its name.
  • ''Would not some lightning flash of vision sear people's consciousness into life again? What was the good of stopping the war if armies continued?''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Originally published in 1922. Thoughts of John Andrews in Three Soldiers, Houghton Mifflin Company (1964).
  • ''When I was a kid I used to tell myself the moon was a silver gong and if I could climb high enough to beat on it with both hands all my wishes would come true.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Originally performed as The Moon Is A Gong in 1925 by the Harvard Dramatic Club. Tom in The Garbage Man, pt. 2, sc. 1, Three Plays, Harcourt, Brace and Company (1934).
  • ''U.S.A. is the speech of the people.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. U.S.A., The Modern Library, Random House, Inc. (1937). From the prologue to the U.S.A. trilogy.
  • ''Women is fine once you got 'em pinned down, boss, but when they ain't pinned down they're hell.''
    John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Bill Cermak in The Big Money, of the trilogy U.S.A., The Modern Library, Random House, Inc. (1937). Commentary for the character Charley Anderson.

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