Who Said It—John Steinbeck or Gertrude Stein?

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Below are some quotes from Atlantic Monthly essays published many, many decades ago. The identities of the authors are hidden within the links, which take you to the full essays. Can you guess the right author for each quote?

1) “While theorists are still searching for the causes of the depression, and politicians remain at loggerheads in their effort to conjure up remedies, I am tempted to think that the perplexed businessman might discover a possible solution of his troubles if he would just spend a few days in his wife’s kitchen.”

A. Eleanor Roosevelt
B. James Thurber
C. Helen Keller
D. Hezekiah Butterworth

(Answer here)

2) “There was a window in the room, but he could not seem to get it open, and he was afraid to call the bellboy (what queer eyes that kid had!), and he was afraid to leave the hotel, for what if he got lost? and if he got lost, even a little, then he would be lost altogether.”

A. John Steinbeck
B. Truman Capote
C. Joyce Carol Oates
D. Hezekiah Butterworth

(Answer here)

3) “Many times, when I have got upon the cars, expecting to be magnetized into an hour or two of blissful reverie, my thoughts shaken up by the vibrations into all sorts of new and pleasing patterns, arranging themselves in curves and nodal points, like the grains of sand in Chladni's famous experiment,—fresh ideas coming up to the surface, as the kernels do when a measure of corn is jolted in a farmer’s wagon,—all this without volition, the mechanical impulse alone keeping the thoughts in motion, as the mere act of carrying certain watches in the pocket keeps them wound up,—many times, I say, just as my brain was beginning to creep and hum with this delicious locomotive intoxication, some dear detestable friend, cordial, intelligent, social, radiant, has come up and sat down by me and opened a conversation which has broken my day-dream, unharnessed the flying horses that were whirling along my fancies and hitched on the old weary omnibus-team of every-day associations, fatigued my hearing and attention, exhausted my voice, and milked the breasts of my thought dry during the hour when they should have been filling themselves full of fresh juices.”

A. Ernest Hemingway
B. Gertrude Stein
C. Oliver Wendell Holmes
D. Hezekiah Butterworth

(Answer here)