Literary Quotations
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ERNEST HEMINGWAY QUOTES


A Farewell to Arms (1929)

All thinking men are atheists.

I had always expected to become devout. All my family died very devout. But somehow it does not come ... Perhaps I have outlived my religious feeling.

I have noticed that doctors who fail in the practice of medicine have a tendency to seek one another's company and aid in consultation. A doctor who cannot take out your appendix properly will recommend you to a doctor who will be unable to remove your tonsils with success.

I had gone to no such place but to the smoke of cafes and nights when the room whirled and you needed to look at the wall to make it stop, nights in bed, drunk, when you knew that that was all there was, and the strange excitement of waking and not knowing who it was with you, and the world all unreal in the dark and so exciting that you must resume again unknowing and not caring in the night, sure that this was all and all and all and not caring.

What you tell me about in the nights. That is not love. That is only passion and lust. When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve.

I did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards. Like bridge you had to pretend you were playing for money or playing for some stakes. Nobody had mentioned what the stakes were.

I kissed her and saw that her eyes were shut. I kissed both her shut eyes. I thought she was probably a little crazy. It was all right if she was. I did not care what I was getting into. This was better than going every evening to the house for officers where the girls climbed all over you and put your cap on backwards as a sign of affection between their trips upstairs with other officers.

Often a man wishes to be alone and a girl wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. It has only happened to me like that once.

The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one.

The brave dies perhaps two thousand deaths if he's intelligent. He simply doesn't mention them.

I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious and sacrifice and the expression in vain. We had heard them, sometimes standing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the shouted words came through, and had read them, on proclamations that were slapped up by billposters over other proclamations, now for a long time, and I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it.

That is why the peasant has wisdom, because he is defeated from the start. Put him in power and see how wise he is.

I was blown up while we were eating cheese.

It doesn't finish. There is no finish to war.... War is not won by victory.... One side must stop fighting. Why don't we stop fighting?

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.

Life isn't hard to manage when you've nothing to lose.

For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)

I am an old man who will live until I die.

I am no romantic glorifier of the Spanish woman, nor did I ever think of a casual piece as anything much other than a casual piece in any country. But when I am with Maria I love her so that I feel, literally. as though I would die and I never believed in that or thought that it could happen.

For her everything was red, orange, gold-red from the sun on the closed eyes, and it all was that color, all of it, the filling, the possessing, the having, all of that color, all in a blindness of that color.

I would always rather not know. Then, no matter what can happen, it was not me that talked.

You are instruments to do your duty. There are necessary orders that are no fault of yours and there is a bridge and that bridge can be the point on which the future of the human race can turn. As it can on everything that happens in this war. You have only one thing to do and you must do it.

If every one said orders were impossible to carry out when they were recieved where would you be? Where would we all be if you just said, "Impossible," when orders came?

In politics ... the first thing is to continue to exist.

If you have not seen the day of Revolution in a small town where all know all in the town and always have known all, you have seen nothing.

It was easier to live under a regime than fight it.

There is only now and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion. This is how you live a life in two days. And if you stop complaining and asking for what you will never get, you will have a good life.

Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.

In war, one cannot say what one feels.

It is the shift from deadliness to normal family life that is the strangest.

Living was a hawk in the sky. Living was an earthen jar of water in the dust of the threshing with the grain flailed out and the chaff blowing. Living was a horse between your legs and a carbine under one leg and a hill and a valley and a stream with trees along it and the far side of the valley and the hills beyond.

How little we know of what there is to know.

I suppose if a man has something once, always something of it remains.

There is a great inertia about all military operations of any size. But once this inertia has been overcome and underway they are almost as hard to arrest as to initiate.

The world is a fine place and worth fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.

The Old Man and the Sea (1952)

Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.

He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength, nor of his wife. He only dreamed of places now and of the lions on the beach. They played like young cats in the dusk and he loved them.

Anyone can be a fisherman in May.

Why did they make birds so delicate and fine as those sea swallows when the ocean can be so cruel? She is kind and very beautiful. But she can be so cruel and it comes so suddenly and such birds that fly, dipping and hunting, with their small sad voices are made too delicately for the sea.

Fish, I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.

The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked ahead and saw a flight of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over the water, then blurring, then etching again and he knew no man was ever alone on the sea.

You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food, he thought. You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?

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.

A man can be destroyed but not defeated.

The Sun Also Rises (1926)

Nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bull-fighters.

It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing.

Going to another country doesn't make any difference. I've tried all that. You can't get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.

We all ought to make sacrifices for literature. Look at me. I'm going to England without a protest. All for literature.

This wine is too good for toast-drinking, my dear. You don't want to mix emotions up with a wine like that. You lose the taste.

You know it makes one feel rather good deciding not to be a bitch. It's sort of what we have instead of God.

Enjoying living was learning to get your money's worth and knowing when you had it.

All right. Have it your own way. Road to hell paved with unbought stuffed dogs. Not my fault.

In bull-fighting they speak of the terrain of the bull and the terrain of the bull-fighter. As long as a bull-fighter stays in his own terrain he is comparatively safe. Each time he enters into the terrain of the bull he is in great danger.

The crowd was the boys, the dancers, and the drunks. Romero turned and tried to get through the crowd. They were all around him trying to lift him and put him on their shoulders. He fought and twisted away, and started running, in the midst of them, toward the exit. He did not want to be carried on people's shoulders. But they held him and lifted him. It was uncomfortable and his legs were spraddled and his body was very sore. They were lifting him and all running toward the gate. He had his hand on somebody's shoulder. He looked around at us apologetically. The crowd, running, went out the gate with him.

Nobody ever knows anything.

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