Quotes from Earth Abides

George R. Stewart ·  345 pages

Rating: (20.3K votes)


“Men go and come, but earth abides.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“The trouble you're expecting never happens; it's always something that sneaks up the other way.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“Then, though his sight was now very dim, he looked again at the young men. "They will commit me to the earth," he thought. "Yet I also commit them to the earth. There is nothing else by which men live. Men go and come, but earth abides.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“As for man, there is little reason to think that he can in the long run escape the fate of other creatures, and if there is a biological law of flux and reflux, his situation is now a highly perilous one. During ten thousand years his numbers have been on the upgrade in spite of wars, pestilences, and famines. This increase in population has become more and more rapid. Biologically, man has for too long a time been rolling an uninterrupted run of sevens.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“It is a strange thing," he thought, "to be an old god. They worship you, and yet they mistreat you. If you do not want to do what they wish, they make you. It is not fair.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides



“Men go and come, but the earth abides”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“In that world, those with seeing eyes could only blunder about, but the blind man would be at home, and now instead of being the one who was guided by others, he might be one the one to whom the others clung for guidance.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“After the sudden release of the laughter, he was trembling. All his body seemed growing weak. He felt, almost physically, more barriers breaking--those necessary barriers of defense, built up through the months of loneliness and desperation. He must touch another human being, and he put forward his hand in the old conventional gesture of the handshake. She took it, and doubtless as she noticed his trembling, she drew him toward a chair and almost pushed him into it. As he sat down, she patted his shoulder lightly.
She spoke again, once more neither questioning nor commanding: "I'll get you something to eat."
He did not protest, though he had just eaten heartily. But he knew that behind her quiet affirmation lay something more than any call of the body for food. There was need now for the symbolic eating together, that first common bond of human beings--the sitting at the same table, the sharing of bread and salt.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“In this also we are men, that we think of the dead. Once it was not so, and when one of us died, he lay where he lay by the cave-mouth and we ran in and out there, not standing quite upright as we ran. Now we stand upright, and now also we think of the dead.

So, when the comrade lies there, we do not let him lie where he died. And we do not take him by the legs carelessly, and drag him into the forest for the foxes and woodrats to gnaw on. We do not cast him into the river carelessly for the stream to float him away.

No, but rather we lay him where the ground is hollowed out a little and there cover him with leaves and branches. So he shall return to the earth, whence all things came.

Or else we lay him to rest among the tree-branches, and give him to the air. Then, if the black birds come streaming from far to pluck at him, that too is right, for they are the creatures of the air.

Or else we give him to the bright and hot cleanliness of fire.

Then we go about our life as before, and soon we forget, like the beasts. But this at least we have done, and when we shall no longer do it, then we shall no longer be men.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“He started to engage the gears, and then suddenly paused with a feeling of uneasiness. He did not regret leaving his own car, but still something worried him. In a moment he remembered. He went back to his old car, and took out the hammer. He carries it over to the station wagon and laid it at his feet. Then he drove out of the garage.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides



“Man has been growing more stupid for several thousand years; I myself shall waste no tears at his demise.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“It’s better,” he thought in words, remembering some bit of reading, “to have no opinion of God at all than to have one that is unworthy of Him.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“The people who live in any generation do much, he realized, either to create or to solve the problems for the people who come in the generations later.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“As once, when the armies of the empire were shattered and the strong barbarians poured in upon the soft provincials, so now the fierce weeds pressed in to destroy the pampered nursling's of man.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“Crusoe’s religious preoccupations seemed boring and rather silly.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides



“Amo esta soledad, lejos de los problemas de la vida en común.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“History was an artist, maintaining the idea but changing the details, like a composer keeping the same theme but dulling it to a minor or lifting by an octave, now crooning it with violins, now blaring it on trumpets.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“Genius is the capacity for seeing what is not there.” Of course, like every other definition of genius, that one could be shot to pieces also, because it obviously included the madman, as well as the genius. Yet there might be something in it, too; the great thinkers of the world must necessarily have made their reputations by sensing what was not there and looking for it and discovering it, but the first requisite for making the discovery, unless it depended upon mere luck, was the realization that something unseen was there to be discovered, something lacking in the picture.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“Because I’ve never died, I am immortal.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“for man, there is little reason to think that he can in the long run escape the fate of other creatures, and if there is a biological law of flux and reflux, his situation is now a highly perilous one. During ten thousand years his numbers have been on the upgrade in spite of wars, pestilences, and famines. This increase in population has become more and more rapid. Biologically, man has for too long a time been rolling an uninterrupted run of sevens.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides



“A certain amount of looting, particularly of liquor stores was reported.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“When the opportunity was at your hand, you did not dare to seize it. When the opportunity was lost, it became precious.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“It had been a great thing, in those Old Times, to be an American. You had been deeply conscious of being one of a great nation. It was no mere matter of pride, but also there went with it a profound sense of confidence and security in life, and a comradeship of millions.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“You used to have the jokes about never fixing the roof until it rained. People were undoubtedly the same now, or worse. They might well wait until something happened that forced them to act; that something would almost certainly be unpleasant—most likely, serious. Yet”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“His worries in the old days had been chiefly about people. The prospect of going to a dance had more than once sent him into a sweat; he had never been a good mixer; no one had asked him to join a fraternity. In the old days, such things were a handicap to a man. Now, he realized, they were actually a great advantage. Because he had sat on the edge of so many social gatherings, not quite able to mingle in the conversation, listening, watching objectively, now he could endure not being able to talk, and again could sit and watch, noting what happened. His weakness had become strength. It was as if there had been a blind man in a world suddenly bereft of light. In that world, those with seeing eyes could only blunder about, but the blind man would be at home, and now instead of being the one who was guided by others, he might be the one to whom the others clung for guidance.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides



“There had been many definitions of Man; he would make another: “The noise-producing animal.” Now there was only the nearly imperceptible murmur of his own engine. He had no need to blow the horn. There were no back-firing trucks, no snorting trains, no pounding planes overhead. In the little towns no whistles blew or bells rang or radios blared or people talked. Even if it was the peace of death, still that was a kind of peace.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“Yes,” he said, “but we are on the ground here; this is our place; he comes breaking in; he must adapt himself to us; not we to him.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“It can never happen!”—as well say, “Because I have never broken my leg, my leg is unbreakable,” or “Because I’ve never died, I am immortal.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


“It has never happened!” cannot be construed to mean, “It can never happen!”—as well say, “Because I have never broken my leg, my leg is unbreakable,” or “Because I’ve never died, I am immortal.”
― George R. Stewart, quote from Earth Abides


About the author

George R. Stewart
Born place: in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, The United States
Born date May 31, 1895
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