“I may not have been sure about what really did interest me, but I was absolutely sure about what didn't.”
“I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world.”
“I had only a little time left and I didn't want to waste it on God.”
“There is not love of life without despair about life.”
“Since we're all going to die, it's obvious that when and how don't matter.”
“If something is going to happen to me, I want to be there.”
“It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe.
To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I'd been happy, and that I was happy still. For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration.”
“I looked up at the mass of signs and stars in the night sky and laid myself open for the first time to the benign indifference of the world.”
“Have you no hope at all? And do you really live with the thought that when you die, you die, and nothing remains?" "Yes," I said.”
“I had been right, I was still right, I was always right. I had lived my life one way and I could just as well have lived it another. I had done this and I hadn't done that. I hadn't done this thing but I had done another. And so?”
“She was wearing a pair of my pajamas with the sleeves rolled up. When she laughed I wanted her again. A minute later she asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn't mean anything but that I didn't think so. She looked sad. But as we were fixing lunch, and for no apparent reason, she laughed in such a way that I kissed her.”
“Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can't be sure.”
“Mostly, I could tell, I made him feel uncomfortable. He didn't understand me, and he was sort of holding it against me. I felt the urge to reassure him that I was like everybody else, just like everybody else. But really there wasn't much point, and I gave up the idea out of laziness.”
“I realized then that a man who had lived only one day could easily live for a hundred years in prison. He would have enough memories to keep him from being bored”
“I've never really had much of an imagination. But still I would try to picture the exact moment when the beating of my heart would no longer be going on inside my head.”
“Nothing, nothing mattered, and I knew why. So did he. Throughout the whole absurd life I'd lived, a dark wind had been rising toward me from somewhere deep in my future, across years that were still to come, and as it passed, this wind leveled whatever was offered to me at the time, in years no more real than the ones I was living. What did other people's deaths or a mother's love matter to me; what did his God or the lives people choose or the fate they think they elect matter to me when we're all elected by the same fate, me and billions of privileged people like him who also called themselves my brothers? Couldn't he see, couldn't he see that? Everybody was privileged. There were only privileged people. The others would all be condemned one day. And he would be condemned, too.”
“After another moment's silence she mumbled that I was peculiar, that that was probably why she loved me but that one day I might disgust her for the very same reason.”
“After awhile you could get used to anything.”
“It is better to burn than to disappear.”
“Maman used to say that you can always find something to be happy about. In my prison, when the sky turned red and a new day slipped into my cell, I found out that she was right.”
“I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.”
“And it was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness.”
“Mother used to say that however miserable one is, there’s always something to be thankful for. And each morning, when the sky brightened and light began to flood my cell, I agreed with her.”
“Aujourd'hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas.”
“At that time, I often thought that if I had had to live in the trunk of a dead tree, with nothing to do but look up at the sky flowing overhead, little by little I would have gotten used to it.”
“I explained to him, however, that my nature was such that my physical needs often got in the way of my feelings.”
“For the first time in a long time I thought about Maman. I felt as if I understood why at the end of her life she had taken a 'fiancé,' why she had played at beginning again. Even there, in that home where lives were fading out, evening was a kind of wistful respite. So close to death, Maman must have felt free then and ready to live it all again. Nobody, nobody had the right to cry over her. And I felt ready to live it all again too.”
“One always has exaggerated ideas about what one doesn't know.”
“I knew that I had shattered the harmony of the day, the exceptional silence of a beach where I'd been happy. Then I fired four more times at the motionless body where the bullets lodged without leaving a trace. And it was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness. ”
“I felt the urge to reassure him that I was like everybody else, just like everybody else.”
“I’ve been a bit worried about my maleness lately, somewhere along the line I seem to have picked up too many female hormones.”
“Sex can be used either for self-affirmation or for self-transcendence — either to intensify the ego and consolidate the social persona by some kind of conspicuous ‘embarkation’ and heroic conquest, or else to annihilate the persona and transcend the ego in an obscure rapture of sensuality, a frenzy of romantic passion, more creditably, in the mutual charity of the perfect marriage.”
“...Until they stood at last by a crumbling wall, looking up and up and still farther up at the great tombyard top of the old house. For that's what it seemed. The high mountain peak of the mansion was littered with what looked like black bones or iron rods, and enough chimneys to choke out smoke signals from three dozen fires on sooty hearths hidden far below in dim bowels of this monster place. With so many chimneys, the roof seemed a vast cemetery, each chimney signifying the burial place of some old god of fire or enchantress of steam, smoke, and firefly spark. even as they watched, a kind of bleak exhalation of soot breathed up out of some four dozen flues, darkening the sky still more, and putting out some few stars.”
“I think you're a good person," I say quietly, before slipping the bed to retrieve my clothes. He exhales, and his eyes meet mine.
"All I know is that I want to be the person you and your dad think I am. Maybe even more than I want to be a great pitcher.”
“James reared up from his bed and threw himself into Uncle Jem’s arms. He had heard some people found the Silent Brothers frightening, with their silent speech and their stitched eyes, but to him the sight of a Silent Brother’s robe always meant Uncle Jem, always meant steadfast love.”
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