From East of Eden (1952), John Steinbeck's American masterpiece.
- •I don't know how it will be in the years to come.
- •There are monstrous changes taking place in the world, forces shaping a future whose faces we do not know.
- •There is 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 to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?
- •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 understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for that is the 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 uncreative beasts.
- •If the glory can be killed, we are lost.