Collected Quotes

Spring 2008

``Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules." - Old Spencer. J. D. Slinger, [The Catcher in the Rye]

``Perhaps it's impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be." - Valentine. Orson Scott Card, [Ender's Game]

``Can a cube that does not last for any time at all have a real existence?" ... "Clearly," the Time Traveller proceeded, "any real body must have extension in four directions: it must have Length, Breadth, Thickness, and-Duration." - Time Traveller. H. G. Wells, [The Time Machine]

"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Time is but a stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink, I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains... " - Henry David Thoreau

Howl's Moving Castle

English 139BS

Shakespeare - Othello, As You Like It, Richard III

Fall 2007 / Russian 162

``However hard she tried, she could not love this little child, and to feign love was beyond her powers." - Leo Tolstoy, [Anna Karenina] (p.756)

``One must do one of two things: either admit that the existing order of society is just, and then stick up for one's rights in it; or acknowledge that you are enjoying unjust privileges, as I do, and then enjoy them and all the pleasure you can out of them." (Stepan Arkadyevich) (p.669)
``...The important thing for me is to feel that I'm not guilty." (Levin)

``But that had been grief - this was joy. Yet that grief and this joy were alike beyond the ordinary conditions of life; they were openings, as it were, in that ordinary life through which there came glipses of something sublime. And in the contemplation of this sublime something the soul was exalted to inconceivable heights of which it had before had no conception, while reason lagged behind, unable to keep up with it." (p.807) [Anna Karenina]

``In work we act under the predominant motive of external, rational necessities; in pleasure, under the predominant motive of other, equally general necessities of human nature. Rest or recreation is the element in which the personality seeks to renew its strength from these stimuli that exhaust the reserve of human resources. It's an element introduced into life by the person himself." - Nikolai Chernyshevsky, [What Is to Be Done?] (p.315)

Fyodor Dostoevsky, [Notes from Underground]
A Norton Critical Edition - Michael R. Katz Translation

``I exercise myself in thinking, and consequently, with me every primary cause drags in another, an even more primary one, and so on to infinity. This is precisely the essence of all consciousness and thought." (p.13)

``You long for life, but you try to solve life's problems by means of logical tangle." (p.27)

``Well, perhaps it's monotonous, too: men fight and fight; now they're fighting, they fought first and they fought last - you'll agree that it's really much too monotonous. In short, anything can be said about world history, anything that might occur to the most disordered imagination. There's only one thing that can't possibly be said about it - that it's rational." (p.22)

``One's very own free, unfettered desire, one's own whim, no matter how wild, one's own fantasy even though sometimes roused to the point of madness... Where did these sages ever get the idea that man needs any normal, virtuous desire? How did they ever imagine that man needs any kind of rational, advantageous desire? Man needs only one thing - his own independent desire, whatever that independence might cost and wherever it might lead." (p.19)

``What sort of free choice will there be when it comes down to tables and arithmetic, when all that's left is two times two makes four? Two times two makes four even without my will. Is that what you call free choice?" (p.23)

"[But] Man is a frivolous and unseemly creature and perhaps, like a chess player, he loves only the process of achieving his goal, and not the goal itself...He loves the process, but he's not so fond of the achievement."

``[But] Man is so partial to systems and abstract conclusions that he's ready to distort the truth intentionally, ready to deny everything that he himself has ever seen and heard, merely in order to justify his own logic." (p.17)

``Don't you see: reason is a fine thing, gentlemen, there's no doubt about it, but it's only reason, and it satisfies only man's rational faculty, whereas desire is a manifestation of all life, that is, of all human life, which includes both reason, as well as all of life's itches and scratches." (p.20)

``Oh, absurdity of absurdities! How much better it is to understand it all, to be aware of everything, all the impossibilities and stone walls; not to be reconciled with any of those impossibilities or stone walls if it so disgusts you; to reach, by using the most inevitable logical combinations, the most revolting conclusions on the eternal theme that you are somehow or other to blame even for that stone wall, even though it's absolutely clear once again that you're in no way to blame, and, as a result of all this, while silently and impotently gnashing your teeth, you sink voluptuously into inertia, musing on the fact that, as it turns out, there's no one to be angry with; that an object cannot be found, and perhaps never will be; that there's been a substitution, some sleight of hand, a bit of cheating, and that it's all a mess - you can't tell who's who or what's what; but in spite of all these uncertainties and sleights of hand, it hurts you just the same, and the more you don't know, the more it hurts!" (p.10)

"..what's most important and precious, that is, our personality and our individuality." (p.21)

``..all the aimlessness of the pain which consciousness finds so humiliating, the whole system of natural laws about which you really don't give a damn, but as a result of which you're suffering nonetheless, while nature isn't." (p.11)

"Dostoevsky is one of the few psychologists from whom I have learned something" - Freidrich Nietzsche

Nikolai Chernyshevsky, [What Is to Be Done?]
Michael R. Katz Translation

``Each of us conceives of others in terms of our own selves." (p.315)

``You call me a dreamer and ask what I want out of life. I prefer neither to dominate nor to submit. I wish neither to deceive nor to dissemble. I don't want to be concerned about other people's opinions, or strive for what others advise, when I really have no need for it...Why should I seek it only because others consider that it's good to have and therefore that it would be good for me?.. Why should I make sacrifices for a brilliant position only because other poeple think it's valuable? I'm unwilling to sacrifice not only myself but even my slightest whim for something I really don't need. I want to be independent and live in my own way. I am eager to acquire only what I really need; what I don't need, I don't want and won't want."

``I don't know yet what I'll need later. You say I'm young and inexperienced and that in time I'll change. So what? When I change, then I will; but for now, I don't want a thing, nothing that I myself don't desire. And you ask me what I want now: well I don't even know myself." Verochka (p.75)

``It's true, however, that the first impression was painful: every important change is accompanied by some sorrow." (p.320)

``He thought, "..Remember that the whole is greater than any of its parts, that is, your human nature is stronger and more important to you than each of your individual aspirations. Favor its advantage over that of each individual aspiration if you find they're in conflict." - Kirsanov (p.246)

"The more difficult a task, the more one delights (according to egoism) in one' sstrength and agility at accomplishing it successfully." (p.235)

``The best distraction from thinking is work." - Vera Pavlovna (p.264)

Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, [Anna Karenina]
Constance Garnett Translation

``All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow." (p.51) Stepan Arkadyevich

``In that brief look Vronsky had time to notice the suppressed eagerness which played over her face, and flitted between the brilliant eyes and the faint smile that curved her red lips. It was as though her nature was so brimming over with something that against her will it showed itself now in the flash of her eyes, and now in her smile. Deliberately she shrouded the light in her eyes, but it shone against her will in the faintly perceptible smile." (p.72)

``Anna Arkadyevna read and understood; but it was distasteful to her to read, that is, to follow the reflection of other people's lives. She had too great a desire to live herself." (p.115-116)

"..her charm was just that she always stood out from her attire, that her dress could never be conspicuous on her." (p.92)

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." (p.3)

``'No one is satisfied with his fortune, and everyone is satisfied with his wit.'" - French saying (p.155)

``He did not realize it, because it was too terrible to him to realize his actual position, and he shut down and locked and sealed up in his heart that secret place where his feelings toward his family - that is, his wife and son - lay hidden." (p.230) Aleksey Aleksandrovich

``But now, when the misfortune had come upon himself, he was so far from thinking of putting an end to the situation that he would not recognize it at all, would not recognize it just because it was too awful, too unnatural." (p.231)

Fall 2007

``Forget about what you are escaping from. Reserve your anxiety for what you are escaping to." - Michael Chabon, [The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay]

Summer 2006

``It seldom happens that a man changes his life through his habitual reasoning. No matter how fully he may sense the new plans and aims revealed to him by reason, he continues to plod along in old paths until his life becomes frustrating and unbearable-he finally makes the change only when his usual life can no longer be tolerated." - Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

``Until you do what you believe in, how do you know whether you believe in it or not?"       - Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

``Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." - Henry Ford (1863-1947)

``He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever." - Chinese proverb

"Where shall I begin, please, your Majesty?" he asked. "Begin at the beginning," the King said, gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop." - Lewis Carroll (1832 - 1898), [Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass]


``The best and most beautiful things in life cannot be seen, not touched, but are felt in the heart." - Helen A. Keller (1880-1968)

``Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, amy alight upon you" - Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

``There are two kinds of failures: those who thought and never did, and those who did and never However hard she tried, she could not love this little child, and to feign love was beyond her powers.thought." - Laurence J. Peter (1919-1990)

``Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself." - Albus Dumbledore, [Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone]

``The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

``Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others." - Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

``We are what we repeatedly do, Excellence is therefore not an act but a habit." - Aristotle

``I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it." - Thomas Jefferson

``I have not failed; I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas Edison

``Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894)

``New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become." - Kurt Vonnegut (1922- ), [Cat's Cradle]

``There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

``There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it." - Oscar Wilde

``There are so many ways to be alive, but only one way to be dead." - Nicole Krauss, [The History of Love]

``I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts." - John Locke (1632-1704)

``Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1922- ), [Mother Night]

``It is not enough to be busy...The question is: what are we busy about?" - Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

``This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections." - Saint Augustine (354-430)

``A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others." - Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

``Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something." - Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

``And then I thought: Perhaps that is what it means to be a father -- to teach your child to live without you." - Nicole Krauss, [The History of Love]

``The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt." - Thomas Merton (1915 -1968)

``One day you're a person and the next day they tell you you're a dog. At first it's hard to bear, but after a while you learn not to look at it as a loss. There's even a moment when it becomes exhilarating to realize just how little needs to stay the same for you to continue the effort they call, for lack of a better word, being human." - Nicole Krauss, [The History of Love]

``There is a hard law...When an injury is done to us, we never recover until we forgive." - Alan Paton (1903-1988), [Until]

``Life beats down and crushes the soul, but art reminds you that you have one." - Stella Adler (1901-1992)

``You don't believe my words now, but you'll come to it yourself.. Suffering is a great thing." - Fyodor M. Dostoevsky (1821-1881), [Crime and Punishment]

``In our nature, however, there is a provision, alike marvellous and merciful, that the sufferer should never know the intensity of what he endures by its present torture, but chiefly by the pang that rankles after it." - Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), [The Scarlet Letter]

``Every one is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows anybody." - Mark Twain (1835-1910), [Pudd'nhead Wilson]

``Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in." - Henry David Thoreau

``Nothing is as far away as one minute ago." - Jim Bishop

``He learned to live with the truth. Not to accept it, but to live with it." - Nicole Krauss, [The History of Love]

``The perception of beauty is a moral test." - Henry David Thoreau

``The truth... It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution." - Albus Dumbledore, [Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone]

``The truth is the thing I invented so I could live." - Nicole Krauss, [The History of Love]

Quotes adapted from the Movies

``It's not who you are underneath, it's what you do that defines you." - Rachel Dawes, Batman Begins (2005)

``Do, or do not. There is no try." - Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

``With great power comes great responsibility." - Uncle Ben, Spiderman (2002)

``I've fought many wars in my time. Some I've fought for land, some for power, some for glory. I suppose fighting for love makes more sense than all the rest." - Priam, Troy (2004)

``I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I'd like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can't be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free." - Red, The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

``What if this is as good as it gets?" - Melvin Udall, As Good as It Gets (1997)

``Mr. and Mrs. Abagnale, this is not a question of your son's attendance. I regret to inform you that, for the past week, Frank has been teaching Mrs. Glasser's French class... Your son has been pretending to be a substitute teacher, lecturing the students, uh, giving out homework, uh. Mrs. Glasser has been ill, there was some confusion with the real sub. Your son held a teacher-parent conference yesterday and was planning a class field trip to a French bread factory in Trenton." - Principal Evans, Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Albert Camus (1913 - 1960)

"In the end, man is not entirely guilty - he did not start history. Nor is he wholly innocent - he continues it."

"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life."

"The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth."

"In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer."

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

"I'gin to be aweary of the sun and wish th' estate o' th' world were now undone." - Macbeth, [Macbeth]

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." - Juliet, [Romeo and Juliet]

"Our doubts are traitors, And make us lose the good we oft might win By fearing to attempt." - Lucio, [Measure for Measure]

"'T is one thing to be tempted, Escalus, Another thing to fall." - Angelo, [Measure for Measure]

"Alack, when once our grace we have forgot, Nothing goes right: we would, and we would not." - Angelo, [Measure for Measure]

"Time's glory is to command contending kings, To unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light." - Shakespeare

Count Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828-1910)

"Until you do what you believe in, how do you know whether you believe in it or not?"

"Life consists in penetrating the unknown, and fashioning our actions in accord with the new knowledge thus acquired."

"It seldom happens that a man changes his life through his habitual reasoning. No matter how fully he may sense the new plans and aims revealed to him by reason, he continues to plod along in old paths until his life becomes frustrating and unbearable-he finally makes the change only when his usual life can no longer be tolerated."

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here."

Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

"Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."

"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."

"What is human warfare but just this; an effort to make the laws of God and nature take sides with one party."

"Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."

"The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready."

Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

"No man is ever rich enough to buy back his past."