Pearl S. Buck, fully Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu

Pearl S.
Buck, fully Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu
1892
1973

American Novelist and Humanitarian, Nobel Prize in Literature and Pulitzer Prize Winner

Author Quotes

Now, five years is nothing in a man's life except when he is very young and very old.

Because psychologists have been able to discover, exactly as in a slow-motion picture, the way the human creature acquires knowledge and habits, the normal child has been vastly helped by what the retarded have taught us.

For he came to perceive that since people were his study, his teachers, the objects through which he could satisfy his persistent wonder about life itself, his own being among others, wherever he lived for the moment, there was his home.

I am mentally bifocal.

In the case of acupuncture, the time period must also be considered. On a fine day, the sun shining, blood in the human body flows smoothly, saliva is free, breathing is easy. On days of chill and cloud, blood flows thick and slow, breathing is heavy, saliva is viscous. When the moon is waxing, blood and breath are full. When the moon wanes, blood and breath wane. Therefore acupuncture should be used only on fair warm days, when the moon is waxing or, best of all, when the moon is full.' 'Interesting,' Grace said in a comment, 'in bioclimatic research in the West, coronary attacks increase in frequency on cold chilly days when the sun is under clouds.' Dr. Tseng turned the page of his blue cloth-covered book. 'Ah, doubtless the barbarians across the four seas have heard of our learning,' he observed without interest.

Let woman out of the home, let man into it, should be the aim of education. The home needs man, and the world outside needs woman.

Of course imagination is the beginning of creation. Without imagination there can be no creation.

A good novelist, or so I have been taught in China, should be above all else tse ran, that is, natural, unaffected, and so flexible and variable as to be wholly at the command of the material that flows through him. His whole duty is only to sort life as it flows through him, and in the vast fragmentariness of time and space and event to discover essential and inherent order and rhythm and shape. We should never be able, merely by reading pages, to know who wrote them, for when the style of a novelist becomes fixed, that style becomes his prison. The Chinese novelists varied their writing to accompany like music their chosen themes.

Believing in gods always causes confusion.

For the novelist believed that he should not be conscious of techniques. He should write as his material demanded.

I became mentally bifocal, and so I learned early to understand that there is no such condition in human affairs as absolute truth. There is only truth as people see it, and truth, even in fact, may be kaleidoscopic in its variety. The damage such perception did to me I have felt ever since, although damage may be too dark a word, for it merely meant that I could never belong entirely to one side of any question. To be a Communist would be absurd to me, as absurd as to be entirely anything and equally impossible. I straddled the globe too young.

In the midst of possible world war, of wholesale destruction, I find my only question this: are there enough people now who believe? Is there time enough left for the wise to act? It is a contest between ignorance and death, or wisdom and life. My faith in humanity stands firm.

Life is the wonder with which we are all infused.

Once the 'what' is decided, the 'how' always follows. We must not make the 'how' an excuse for not facing and accepting the 'what.'

A man is educated and turned out to work. But a woman is educated ? and turned out to grass.

But we may say at least that for the interest of her chosen material, the sustained high level of her technical skill, and the frequent universality of her conceptions, Mrs. Buck is entitled to take rank as a considerable artist. To read her novels is to gain not merely knowledge of China but wisdom about life.

French is the most beautiful, he said, and Italian is the most poetic, and Russian the most powerful, German the most solid. But more business is done in English than in any other.

I believe in human beings, but my faith is without sentimentality. I know that in environments of uncertainty, fear, and hunger, the human being is dwarfed and shaped without his being aware of it, just as the plant struggling under a stone does not know its own condition. Only when the stone is removed can it spring up freely into the light. But the power to spring up is inherent, and only death puts an end to it. I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in human beings.

In this tradition of the novel have I been born and reared as a writer.

Life without idealism is empty indeed. We just hope or starve to death.

One does not live half a life in Asia without return. When it would be I did not know, nor even where it would be, or to what cause. In our changing world nothing changes more than geography. The friendly country of China, the home of my childhood and youth, is for the time being forbidden country. I refuse to call it enemy country. The people in my memory are too kind and the land too beautiful.

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create - so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.

But what happens when her beauty is torn from her like a cover from a book? Will he care to read her then, although her pages speak of nothing but love for him?

Fresh tadpoles coming out in the spring should be washed clean in cold well-water, and swallowed whole three or four days after menstruation. If a woman swallows fourteen live tadpoles on the first day and ten more on the following day, she will not conceive for five years. If contraception in still required after that, she can repeat the formula twice and be forever sterile... This formula is good in that it is effective, safe and not expensive. The defect is that it can be used only in the spring.

I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to earth.

Author Picture
First Name
Pearl S.
Last Name
Buck, fully Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu
Birth Date
1892
Death Date
1973
Bio

American Novelist and Humanitarian, Nobel Prize in Literature and Pulitzer Prize Winner