Strongly do the Russian folk express themselves! and if they bestow a little word on someone, it will go with him and his posterity for generations, and he will drag it with him into the service, and into retirement, and to Petersburg, and to the ends of the earth. And no matter how clever you are in ennobling your nickname later, even getting little scriveners to derive it for hire from ancient princely stock, nothing will help: the nickname will caw itself away at the top of its crow’s voice and tell clearly where the bird has flow from. Aptly uttered is as good as written, an axe cannot destroy it.
~ Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol
Something in Darky could not help but think Tiny had let go, that it was a failing of character. And such a thought, he knew, was simply to make himself feel better, to make him think he would live and not die because he still had the power to choose such things. But in his heart he knew he had no such power. For he could smell the truth in Tiny’s rancid breath. Whatever that stench was, he worried that it was catching and he just wanted to escape it. But he had to help Tiny. No one asked why he did; everyone knew. He was a mate. Darky Gardiner loathed Tiny, thought him a fool and would do everything to keep him alive. Because courage, survival, love – all these things didn’t live in one man. They lived in them all or they died and every man with them; they had come to believe that to abandon one man was to abandon themselves.
~ The Narrow Road To The Deep North, Richard Flanagan
They rushed down the street together, digging everything in the early way they had, which later became so much sadder and perceptive and blank. But then they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because 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 and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop
~ On the Road, Jack Kerouac
We wish to learn all the curious, outlandish ways of all the different countries, so that we can ‘show off’ and astonish people when we get home. We wish to excite the envy of our untravelled friends with our strange foreign fashions which we can’t shake off. All our passengers are paying strict attention to this thing, with the end in view which I have mentioned. The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become, until he goes abroad. I speak now, of course, in the supposition that the gentle reader has not been abroad, and therefore is not already a consummate ass. If the case be otherwise, I beg his pardon and extend to him the cordial hand of fellowship and call him brother. I shall always delight to meet an ass after my own heart when I shall have finished my travels.
~ The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain
They were like people who didn’t know their own mind. They had suffered so much; they had brought so much suffering on themselves. They looked so feeble and crazed when they came out of their villages and wandered about the town. They looked so much like people needing the food and the peace that the town offered. But it was people like them, going back to their villages, who wished to lay the town low again. Such rage! Like a forest fire that goes underground and burns unseen along the roots of trees it has already destroyed and then erupts in scorched land where it has little to feed on, so in the middle of destruction and want want the wish to destroy flared up again.
~ A Bend in the River, V. S. Naipaul
The boy turned away. The man held him. Listen to me, he said.
When your dreams are of some world that never was or of some world that never will be and you are happy again then you will have given up. Do you understand? And you cant give up. I wont let you.
~ The Road, Cormac McCarthy
We must, nevertheless, do him justice; malice was probably not innate in him. From his very first intercourse with men he had felt, and then had seen, himself repulsed, branded, despised. Human speech had never been to him aught but mockery and curses. As he grew up, he had found around him nothing but hatred. What wonder that he should have caught it! He had contracted it – he had but picked up the weapon that had wounded him.
After all, he turned towards mankind reluctantly – his cathedral was sufficient for him. It was peopled with figures in marble – with kings, saints, bishops – who, at all events, did not burst out laughing in his face, but looked upon him with calmness and benevolence. The other statues, those of monsters and demons, had no hatred for him, Quasimodo. He was too much like them for that. Their raillery seemed rather to be directed toward the rest of mankind. The saints were his friends, and blessed him; the monsters were his friends, and guarded him.
~ The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Victor Hugo