Ken Kesey · 325 pages
Rating: (534.4K votes)
“Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”
“All I know is this: nobody's very big in the first place, and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down.”
“But it's the truth even if it didn't happen.”
“He knows that you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.”
“If you don't watch it people will force you one way or the other, into doing what they think you should do, or into just being mule-stubborn and doing the opposite out of spite.”
“Never before did I realize that mental illness could have the aspect of power, power. Think of it: perhaps the more insane a man is, the more powerful he could become. Hitler an example. Fair makes the old brain reel, doesn't it?”
“That ain't me, that ain't my face. It wasn't even me when I was trying to be that face. I wasn't even really me them; I was just being the way I looked, the way people wanted.”
“What do you think you are, for Chrissake, crazy or somethin'? Well you're not! You're not! You're no crazier than the average asshole out walkin' around on the streets and that's it. ”
“The stars up close to the moon were pale; they got brighter and braver the farther they got out of the circle of light ruled by the giant moon”
“They can't tell so much about you if you got your eyes closed.”
“He Who Marches Out Of Step Hears Another Drum”
“Rules? PISS ON YOUR FUCKING RULES!”
“This world . . . belongs to the strong, my friend! The ritual of our existence is based on the strong getting stronger by devouring the weak. We must face up to this. No more than right that it should be this way. We must learn to accept it as a law of the natural world. The rabbits accept their role in the ritual and recognize the wolf is the strong. In defense, the rabbit becomes sly and frightened and elusive and he digs holes and hides when the wolf is about. And he endures, he goes on. He knows his place. He most certainly doesn't challenge the wolf to combat. Now, would that be wise? Would it?”
“High high in the hills , high in a pine tree bed.
She's tracing the wind with that old hand, counting the clouds with that old chant,
Three geese in a flock
one flew east
one flew west
one flew over the cuckoo's nest”
“We'd just shared the last beer and slung the empty can out the window at a stop sign and were just waiting back to get the feel of the day, swimming in that kind of tasty drowsiness that comes over you after a day of going hard at something you enjoy doing -- half sunburned and half drunk and keeping awake only because you wanted to savor the taste as long as you could.”
“No, my friend. We are lunatics from the hospital up the highway, psycho-ceramics, the cracked pots of mankind. Would you like me to decipher a Rorschach for you?”
“Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”
“You had a choice: you could either strain and look at things that appeared in front of you in the fog, painful as it might be, or you could relax and lose yourself”
“What makes people so impatient is what I can't figure; all the guy had to do was wait.”
“But he won’t let the pain blot out the humor no more’n he’ll let the humor blot out the pain.”
“I lay in bed the night before the fishing trip and thought it over, about my being deaf, about the years of not letting on I heard what was said, and I wonder if I can ever act any other way again. But I remembered one thing: it wasn't me that started acting deaf; it was people that first started acting like I was too dumb to hear or see or say anything at all.”
“I don't think you fully understand the public, my friend; in this country, when something is out of order, then the quickest way to get it fixed is the best way.”
“I listened to them fade away till all I could hear was my memory of the sound.”
“He knew you can't really be strong until you can see a funny side of things.”
“What the Chronics are - or most of us - are machines with flaws inside that can't be repaired, flaws born in, or flaws beat in over so many years of the guy running head-on into solid things that by the time the hospital found him he was bleeding rust in some vacant lot. ”
“He knows that there's no better way in the world to aggravate somebody who's trying to make it hard for you than by acting like you're not bothered.”
“But the rest are even scared to open up and laugh. You know, that's the first thing that got me about this place, that there wasn't anybody laughing. I haven't heard a real laugh since I came through that door, do you know that? Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”
“He's the sort of guy that gets a laugh out of people.”
“To Vik Lovell who told me dragons did not exist, then led me to their lairs ...”
“His whole body shakes with the strain as he tries to lift something he knows he can't lift, something everybody knows he can't lift.
But, for just a second, when we hear the cement grind at our feet, we think, by golly, he might do it.”
“The truest crime remaining to him to commit was the waste of love. It should be bequeathed, as land is.”
“The number of elected officials who were willing to put the good of the country ahead of their own ego, and the success of their political party, was minuscule.”
“I feel it's all wrong to be nervous," said Maria. "I feel it's lack of confidence. One ought to go right ahead, never minding."
"Some people do," he said, "but they're the duds. They are the ones that win prizes at school, and you never hear of them again. Go on. Be nervous. Be ill. Be sick down the lavatory pan. It's part of your life from now on. You've got to go through with it. Nothing's worth while if you don't fight for it first, if you haven't a pain in your belly beforehand.”
“Even someone like Mrs. Bonnaventura, who had lived a mostly blameless life, when ushered into the awesome presence of the Creator of the infinite universe and also of the butterfly, would discover ten thousand fearsome new layers of meaning in the word humility.”
“nice, civilized trip to Athens on your way to Santorini when you go?”
BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.
We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.
Founded in 2018, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.