“When you realize someone is trying to hurt you, it hurts less."
"Unless you love them.”
“I never had, or wished for, power over you. That isn't true, of course. I wanted the greatest power of all. but not advantage, or authority.”
“Dora sat on a corner of the spread rug, longing to be assigned some task so she could resent it.”
“But, with unintelligible nostalgia for a life she had never lived, knew that all would have been subtly and profoundly different had her husband greatly loved her.”
“Her eyes were enlarged and faded with discovering what, by common human agreement, is better undivulged.”
“She was coming to look on men and women as fellow-survivors: well-dissemblers of their woes, who, with few signals of grief, had contained, assimilated, or put to use their own destruction. Of those who had endured the worst, not all behaved nobly or consistently. but all, involuntarily, became part of some deeper assertion of life.”
“He had seen how people came a cropper by giving way to impulse. It was to his judiciousness, at every turn, that he owed the fact that nothing terrible had ever happened to him.”
“The sweetness that all longed for night and day. Some tragedy might be idly guessed at--loss or illness. She had the luminosity of those about to die.”
“At the other end of the room the three old men discussed infirmities; exchanging symptoms in undertones as boys might speak of lust.”
“Paul said, 'You always had some contempt for me.'
'And love too.'
'Yes.' A flicker over her stare was the facial equivalent of a shrug. 'Now you have a wife to give you both.”
“Caro was coming round to the fact of unhappiness: to a realization that Dora created unhappiness and the she was bound to Dora.”
“They lived under supervision, a life without men. Dora knew no men. You could scarcely see how she might meet one, let alone come to know.”
“Dark had meant Dora, had meant words and events sordid with self. Struggling to the light from Dora's darkness, Caro had acquired conscience and equilibrium like a profound, laborious education. Exercise of principle would always require more from her than from persons nurtured in it, for she had learned it by application of will. Caro would never do the right thing without knowing it, as some could.”
“I see that you are highly defensive." . . .
Caro said, "I withhold my analysis of your own attitude.”
“He was familiar enough with pleasure to know it might become jaded or reluctant; but joy was literally foreign to him, a word he would never easily pronounce, an exhilaration that had some other reckless nationality. For this reason, Caro's wholeness in love, her happiness in it, made her exotic.”
“Even Grace still imagined there might be words, the words that could reach Dora and that had so far, unaccountably, not been hit upon. Only Caro recognized that Dora's condition was exactly that: a condition, an irrational state requiring professional, or divine, intervention.”
“I wasn't convinced a shop girl would know the word 'Oedipal.”
“Did you love Paul Ivory?"
"I suppose it ended badly."
"You must have been very unhappy."
"I died, and Adam resurrected me.”
“Caro sat without speaking, turning toward him her look that was neither sullen nor expectant but soberly attentive; and, once, a glance in which tenderness and apprehension were great and indivisible, giving unbearable, excessive immediacy to the living of these moments. Paul had seen that look before, when they first lay down together at the inn beyond Avebury Circle.”
“She was coming to look on men and women as fellow survivors; well-dissemblers of their woes, who, with few signals of grief, had contained, assimilated, or just put to use their own destruction. Of those who had endured the worst, not all behaved nobly or consistently. But all, involuntarily, became part of a deeper assertion to life.
Though the dissolution of love created no heroes, the process itself required some heroism. There was the risk that endurance might appear enough of an achievement. That risk had come up before.”
“He had the complexion, lightly webbed, of outdoor living and indoor drinking, and was a high, handsome man who might have been cruel.”
“You have to fight with your anger, your greed, your sex, because you are weak. So really, anger, greed, and sex are not the problems, weakness is the problem. Once you begin to be stronger inside, with a feeling of inner presence—that you are—your energies become concentrated, crystallized on a single point, and a self is born. Remember, not an ego but a self is born. Ego is a false sense of self. Without having any self you go on believing that you have a self—that is ego. Ego means a false self—you are not a self, still you believe that you are a self.”
“Marriage was purely a matter of timing, and whenever a man was finally done sowing his wild oats and ready to settle down, whichever girl happened to be there at the time would be the right one.”
“Maybe when we got up on the bridge I’d jump, Last of the Mohicans their asses!”
“Kissing her was like tipping over the edge of sanity.”
“Prison is for other people’s children.”
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