Literary Quotations
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JOHN UPDIKE QUOTES


Rabbit Redux (1971)

The world is quicksand. Find the straight path and stick to it.

--Part I

One of the nice things about having a lover, it makes you think about everything anew. The rest of your life becomes a kind of movie, flat and even rather funny.

--Part I

Sex ages us. Priests are boyish, spinsters stay black-haired until after fifty. We others, the demon rots us out.

--Part I

All men are boys time is trying to outsmart.

--Part I

The pain of the world is a crater all these syrups and pills a thousandfold would fail to fill.

--Part I

Days, pale slices between nights, they blend, not exactly alike, transparencies so lightly tinted that only stacked all together do they darken to a fatal shade.

--Part II

Living is a compromise, between doing what you want and doing what other people want.

--Part II

Man is a means for turning things into spirit and turning spirit into things.

--Part II

God is in the tiger as well as in the lamb.

--Part II

We make companions out of air and hurt them, so they will defy us, completing creation.

--Part II

What you haven't done by thirty you're not likely to do. What you have done you'll do lots more.

--Part II

Revolution is just one crowd taking power from another.

--Part III

Common sense is bullshit, man. It gets you through the days all right, but it leaves you alone at night. It keeps you from knowing.

--Part III

Chaos is God's body. Order is the Devil's chains.

--Part III

Pay for what you get because anything free has a rattlesnake under it.

--Part IV

Inch by inch. Life is a cinch. Yard by yard. Life is hard.

--Part IV

Rabbit, Run (1960)

Love makes the air light.

Christians. God's name makes them feel guilty.

Fraud makes the world go round.

Old wounds opened like complicated flowers in the night.

He dreaded their quarrels: when their faces went angry and flat and words flew, it was as if a pane of glass were put in front of him, cutting off air.

Laws aren't ghosts in this country, they walk around with the smell of earth on them.

The only way to get somewhere, you know, is to figure out where you're going before you go there.

Everybody who tells you how to act has whisky on their breath.

His dreams are shallow, furtive things. His legs switch. His lips move a little against the pillow. The skin of his eyelids shudders as his eyeballs turn, surveying the inner wall of vision.

Do what the heart commands. The heart is our only guide.

There can be achievement even in defeat.

Nature leads you up like a mother and as soon as she gets her little contribution leaves you with nothing.

With women, you keep bumping against them, because they want different things; they're a different race. The good ones develop give.

After you're first-rate at something, no matter what, it kind of takes the kick out of being second-rate.

Sun and moon, sun and moon, time goes.

If you have the guts to be yourself, other people'll pay your price.

The difficulty with humorists is that they will mix what they believe with what they don't--whichever seems likelier to win an effect.

Some die young; some are born old.

Men are all heart and women are all body. I don't know who's supposed to have the brains. God, I suppose.

His life seems a sequence of grotesque poses assumed to no purpose, a magic dance empty of belief.

Events create events.

Sleep this night is not a dark haunted domain the mind must consciously set itself to invade, but a cave inside himself, into which he shrinks while the claws of the bear rattle like rain outside.

Children and dogs sense the invisible.

Life. It's a strange gift and I don't know how we're supposed to use it but I know it's the only gift we get and it's a good one.

The fullness ends when we give Nature her ransom, when we make children for her. Then she is through with us, and we become, first inside, and then outside, junk. Flower stalks.

Right and wrong aren't dropped from the sky. We. We make them.

Never, the word never stops, there is never a gap in its thickness.

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