“I'm sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.”
“I'm sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.”
“I’m just sick of ego, ego, ego. My own and everybody else’s. I’m sick of everybody that wants to get somewhere, do something distinguished and all, be somebody interesting. It’s disgusting.”
“And I can't be running back and fourth forever between grief and high delight.”
“An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's.”
“It's everybody, I mean. Everything everybody does is so — I don't know — not wrong, or even mean, or even stupid necessarily. But just so tiny and meaningless and — sad-making. And the worst part is, if you go bohemian or something crazy like that, you're conforming just as much only in a different way.”
“I don't know what good it is to know so much and be smart as whips and all if it doesn't make you happy.”
“I love you to pieces, distraction, etc.”
“You don't know how to talk to people you don't like. Don't love, really. You can't live in the world with such strong likes and dislikes.”
“She was not one for emptying her face of expression. ”
“You're lucky if you get time to sneeze in this goddam phenomenal world.”
“I'm not afraid to compete. It's just the opposite. Don't you see that? I'm afraid I will compete — that's what scares me. That's why I quit the Theatre Department. Just because I'm so horribly conditioned to accept everybody else's values, and just because I like applause and people to rave about me, doesn't make it right. I'm ashamed of it. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody. I'm sick of myself and everybody else that wants to make some kind of a splash.”
“She said she knew she was able to fly because when she came down she always had dust on her fingers from touching the light bulbs.”
“I don’t think it would have all got me quite so down if just once in a while—just once in a while—there was at least some polite little perfunctory implication that knowledge should lead to wisdom, and that if it doesn't, it's just a disgusting waste of time! But there never is! You never even hear any hints dropped on a campus that wisdom is supposed to be the goal of knowledge. You hardly ever even hear the word 'wisdom' mentioned!”
“Sometimes I see me dead in the rain.”
“Your heart, Bessie, is an autumn garage.”
“I do like him. I'm sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect....
.... Listen, don't hate me because I can't remember some person immediately. Especially when they look like everybody else, and talk and dress and act like everybody else." Franny made her voice stop. It sounded to her caviling and bitchy, and she felt a wave of self-hatred that, quite literally, made her forehead begin to perspire again. But her voice picked up again, in spite of herself. "I don't mean there's anything horrible about him or anything like that. It's just that for four solid years I've kept seeing Wally Campbells wherever I go. I know when they're going to be charming, I know when they're going to start telling you some really nasty gossip about some girl that lives in your dorm, I know when they're going to ask me what I did over the summer, I know when they're going to pull up a chair and straddle it backward and start bragging in a terribly, terribly quiet voice--or name-dropping in a terribly quiet, casual voice. There's an unwritten law that people in a certain social or financial bracket can name-drop as much as they like just as long as they say something terribly disparaging about the person as soon as they've dropped his name—that he's a bastard or a nymphomaniac or takes dope all the time, or something horrible." She broke off again. She was quiet for a moment, turning the ashtray in her fingers.
Franny quickly tipped her cigarette ash, then brought the ashtray an inch closer to her side of the table. "I'm sorry. I'm awful," she said. "I've just felt so destructive all week. It's awful, I'm horrible.”
“[...] don't you know who that Fat Lady really is? ... Ah, buddy. Ah, buddy. It's Christ Himself. Christ Himself, buddy.”
“Against my better judgment I feel certain that somewhere very near here—the first house down the road, maybe—there's a good poet dying, but also somewhere very near here somebody's having a hilarious pint of pus taken from her lovely young body, and I can't be running back and forth forever between grief and high delight.”
“I just never felt so fantastically rocky in my entire life.”
“Give me an honest con man any day.”
“Listen, I don't care what you say about my race, creed, or religion, Fatty, but don't tell me I'm not sensitive to beauty. That's my Achilles' heel, and don't you forget it. To me, everything is beautiful. Show me a pink sunset, and I'm limp, by God. Anything. Peter Pan. Even before the curtain goes up at Peter Pan I'm a goddamn puddle of tears.”
“In the first place, you’re way off when you start railing at things and people instead of at yourself. ”
“My god, there's absolutely nothing tenth-rate about you, and yet you're up to your neck at this minute in tenth-rate thinking.”
“This is God's universe, buddy, not yours, and he has the final say about what's ego and what isn't.”
“Bessie: 'Why don't you get married?'
Zooey: 'I like riding in trains too much. You never get to sit next to the window anymore when you're married.”
“Oh, it's lovely to see you!' Franny said as the cab moved off. 'I've missed you.' The words were no sooner out than she realized that she didn't mean them at all.”
“Franny was staring at the little blotch of sunshine with a special intensity, as if she were considering lying down in it.”
“You can't exist in this world with such strong likes and dislikes.”
“If there is anything that may properly be called happiness here below, I am persuaded it is the union of two persons who love each other with perfect liberty, who are united by a secret inclination, and satisfied with each other's merits. Their hearts are full and leave no vacancy for any other passion; they enjoy perpetual tranquillity because they enjoy content.”
“Those with bad luck should at least attempt to balance it with good sense.”
“I remember a time when my mind wouldn’t have been able to shut down, my cases churning so relentlessly that I could barely see the person standing right in front of me. I remember when it had to be me who solved the case, who figured out the riddle. Now I didn’t care who did it, how it came about, just as long as it was over. I’m tired of seeing all the rotten things one person does to another person. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to open a flower shop. But this is my dream: One day, I leave my job at my office and it doesn’t follow me home and haunt me in my sleep. Another dream: I don’t live in my brother’s basement apartment. After everything I’ve seen and done and mused about endlessly, I’m convinced of one thing: There’s more to life than this, and sometimes when I picture more, it looks like something so simple, like so much less.”
“I furrowed my eyebrows."Are you looking at my bosom, sir?"
The eyes snapped back up. "At such a serious moment? What do you take me for?"
"A rogue, I believe." I tried not to smile.”
“You get to keep making art as long as you are willing to make the choices that let you make your art.”
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