Literary Zen

I am, therefore I’ll think ~ ATLAS SHRUGGED

But thus it often is, that the constant friction of illiberal minds wears out at last the best resolves of the more generous ~ BARTLEBY THE SCRIVENER

There is nothing namable but that men will undertake to do it for pay ~ BILLY BUDD, SAILOR

One must fight to get to the top, especially if one starts at the bottom ~ THE CASTLE

Anger’s my meat; I sup upon myself, And so shall starve with feeding ~ CORIOLANUS

A yokel mind loves stories from of old, Being the kind it can repeat and hold ~ THE CANTERBURY TALES

It doesn’t make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who’s dead ~ CATCH-22

All morons hate it when you call them a moron ~ THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations . . . then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy ~ DEUTERONOMY

I incline to Cain’s heresy … I let my brother go to the devil in his own way ~ DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE

We are all drifting reefwards now, and faith is our only anchor ~ DRACULA

If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none ~ FAHRENHEIT 451

Life isn’t hard to manage when you’ve nothing to lose ~ A FAREWELL TO ARMS

I let go. Lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and complete. I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom ~ FIGHT CLUB

There are many who do not know they are fascists but will find it out when the time comes ~ FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

Oh! Be men, or be more than men. Be steady to your purposes and firm as a rock ~ FRANKENSTEIN

If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he needs it ’cause he feels awful poor inside hisself, and if he’s poor in hisself, there ain’t no million acres gonna make him feel rich, an’ maybe he’s disappointed that nothin’ he can do’ll make him feel rich ~ THE GRAPES OF WRATH

It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment ~ THE GREAT GATSBY

There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will ~ HAMLET

No relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, that notion of being captured by the incredible which is of the very essence of dreams ~ HEART OF DARKNESS

Fight till the last gasp ~ HENRY IV

At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice ~ I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Fate stands now upon the razor’s edge ~ THE ILIAD

That sir which serves and seeks for gain, And follows but for form, Will pack when it begins to rain, And leave thee in the storm. ~ KING LEAR

His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink ~ LORD OF THE FLIES

Fair is foul, and foul is fair ~ MACBETH

Our duty is to feel what is great and love what is beautiful — not to accept all the social conventions and the infamies they impose on us ~ MADAME BOVARY

Who’s to doom, when the judge himself is dragged to the bar? ~ MOBY DICK

I don’t know whether this world has a meaning that transcends it. But I know that I cannot know that meaning and that it is impossible for me just now to know it ~ THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS

Two plus two equals five is not without its attractions ~ NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND

How prone to doubt, how cautious are the wise! Who, versed in fortune, fear the flattering show, And taste not half the bliss the gods bestow ~ THE ODYSSEY

You know, there are two good things in life, freedom of thought and freedom of action ~ OF HUMAN BONDAGE

Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other ~ OF MICE AND MEN

It is good that we do not have to try to kill the sun or the moon or the stars. It is enough to live on the sea and kill our true brothers ~ THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA

The world must be all fucked up when men travel first class and literature goes as freight ~ ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars ~ ON THE ROAD

It is a great danger for everyone when what is shocking changes ~ OUR MAN IN HAVANA

Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing~ THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

What’s true of all the evils in the world is … it helps men to rise above themselves ~ THE PLAGUE

It was too easy to die for what was good or beautiful, for home or children or a civilization – it needed a God to die for the half-hearted and the corrupt ~ THE POWER AND THE GLORY

If trouble comes when you least expect it then maybe the thing to do is to always expect it ~ THE ROAD

Cleverness is good, patience is better ~ SIDDHARTHA

Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops ~ SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE

I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world ~ THE STRANGER

I don’t want realism. I want magic! ~ A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE

Nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bull-fighters ~ THE SUN ALSO RISES

The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience ~ TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves ~THE TRIAL

We are all born mad. Some remain so ~ WAITING FOR GODOT