Character Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Character. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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The best index to a person's character is how he treats people who can't do him any good, and how he treats people who can't fight back.
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Abigail Van Buren
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I've never fooled anyone. I've let people fool themselves. They didn't bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn't argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn't.
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Marilyn Monroe
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The Seven Social Sins are: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. From a sermon given by Frederick Lewis Donaldson in Westminster Abbey, London, on March 20, 1925.
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Frederick Lewis Donaldson
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I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.
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Charlotte BrontΓ« (Jane Eyre)
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There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.
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Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
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Top 15 Things Money Can’t Buy Time. Happiness. Inner Peace. Integrity. Love. Character. Manners. Health. Respect. Morals. Trust. Patience. Class. Common sense. Dignity.
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Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
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Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.
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Maya Angelou
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Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.
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Kahlil Gibran
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Sometimes, when I have to do something I don't want to do, I pretend I'm a character from a book. It's easier to know what they would do.
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Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1))
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I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of.
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Joss Whedon
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Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.
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Anne Frank
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If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character...Would you slow down? Or speed up?
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Chuck Palahniuk (Invisible Monsters)
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Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.
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Martin Luther King Jr.
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I spent my life folded between the pages of books. In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.
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Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1))
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Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.
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Henry David Thoreau
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Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.
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August Wilson
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I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects.
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Oscar Wilde
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Become major, Paul. Live like a hero. That's what the classics teach us. Be a main character. Otherwise what is life for?
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J.M. Coetzee
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...her dearest friends are characters in books.
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Sarah J. Maas (Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3))
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Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Focus on your character, not your reputation. Focus on your blessings, not your misfortunes.
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Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
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Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.
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R.J. Palacio (Wonder (Wonder, #1))
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People come, people go – they’ll drift in and out of your life, almost like characters in a favorite book. When you finally close the cover, the characters have told their story and you start up again with another book, complete with new characters and adventures. Then you find yourself focusing on the new ones, not the ones from the past.
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Nicholas Sparks (The Rescue)
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One can acquire everything in solitude except character.
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Stendhal (Five Short Novels of Stendhal)
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In desperate love, we always invent the characters of our partners, demanding they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place.
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Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
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Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
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John Wooden
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People tend to overestimate my character," I say quietly. "They think that because I'm small, or a girl, or a Stiff, I can't possibly be cruel. But they're wrong.
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Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
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You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.
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Maya Angelou
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If you want to find out what a man is to the bottom, give him power. Any man can stand adversity β€” only a great man can stand prosperity. It is the glory of Abraham Lincoln that he never abused power only on the side of mercy
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Robert Ingersoll
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Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters
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Albert Einstein
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Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
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Helen Keller
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Which of us has not felt that the character we are reading in the printed page is more real than the person standing beside us?
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Cornelia Funke
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It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.
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Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
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Like all of my friends, she's a lousy judge of character.
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David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)
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You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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O light! This is the cry of all the characters of ancient drama brought face to face with their fate. This last resort was ours, too, and I knew it now. In the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer.
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Albert Camus (L’étΓ©)
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I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
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Martin Luther King Jr.
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In books and in life, you need to read several pages before someone's true character is revealed.
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Gail Carson Levine
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You can judge a man's true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.
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Paul McCartney
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All humans make mistakes. What determines a person's character aren't the mistakes we make. It's how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.
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Colleen Hoover (It Ends with Us)
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When you find a man you wish to marry, Tessa, remember this: You will know what kind of man he is not by the things he says, but by the things he does.
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Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1))
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The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
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Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
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It is not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them β€” the character, the heart, generous qualities, progressive ideas.
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Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
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C.S. Lewis
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You should date a girl who reads. Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve. Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn. She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book. Buy her another cup of coffee. Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice. It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does. She has to give it a shot somehow. Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world. Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two. Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series. If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are. You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype. You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots. Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads. Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
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Rosemarie Urquico
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A man's true character comes out when he's drunk.
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Charlie Chaplin
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Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemnβ€”and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
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Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
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People do not seem to realise that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing.
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Abraham Lincoln
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Whatever you are physically...male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy--all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.
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Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1))
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Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.
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Albert Einstein
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I am not an angel,' I asserted; 'and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself. Mr. Rochester, you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me - for you will not get it, any more than I shall get it of you: which I do not at all anticipate.
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Charlotte BrontΓ« (Jane Eyre)
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In youth, it was a way I had, To do my best to please. And change, with every passing lad To suit his theories. But now I know the things I know And do the things I do, And if you do not like me so, To hell, my love, with you.
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Dorothy Parker (The Complete Poems of Dorothy Parker)
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In the end you should always do the right thing even if it's hard.
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Nicholas Sparks (The Last Song)
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Real courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
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Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
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There is a technical term for someone who confuses the opinions of a character in a book with those of the author. That term is idiot.
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S.M. Stirling
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Nothing shows a man's character more than what he laughs at.
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It's their mistake, not my failing.
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Richard P. Feynman (Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character)
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Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.
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Arthur Schopenhauer (The Basis of Morality)
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So, why do you write these strong female characters? Because you’re still asking me that question." [Equality Now speech, May 15, 2006]
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Joss Whedon
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Character β€” the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life β€” is the source from which self-respect springs.
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Joan Didion (On Self-Respect)
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I'm not a sucker for happily ever afters, but if these two characters don't get theirs I might climb inside this e-reader and lock them both inside that damn garage forever.
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Colleen Hoover (Hopeless (Hopeless, #1))
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And if you insist on continuing to make assumptions about my character, I’ll advise you only this: assume you will always be wrong.
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Tahereh Mafi (Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3))
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This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.
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David Levithan (Every Day (Every Day, #1))
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Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.
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Criss Jami (SalomΓ©: In Every Inch In Every Mile)
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Everybody is a main character to someone...
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Amy Harmon (Making Faces)
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Can officially confirm that the way to a man's heart these days is not through beauty, food, sex, or alluringness of character, but merely the ability to seem not very interested in him.
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Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones, #1))
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When you choose your friends, don't be short-changed by choosing personality over character.
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W. Somerset Maugham
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Just when you think you're having a scene without Simon, he drops in to remind you that everyone else is a supporting character in his catastrophe.
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Rainbow Rowell (Carry On (Simon Snow, #1))
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To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.
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Criss Jami
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Keep doing the right. God is building character in you, and you are passing that test. Remember, the greater the struggle, the greater the reward.
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Joel Osteen (Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential)
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I can't decide whether I'm a good girl wrapped up in a bad girl, or if I'm a bad girl wrapped up in a good girl. And that's how I know I'm a woman!
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C. JoyBell C.
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Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.
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Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
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It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.
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Mark Twain
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Life is full of strange absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true.
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Luigi Pirandello (Six Characters in Search of an Author)
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I don't put up with being messed around, and I don't suffer fools gladly. The short version of that is that I'm a bitch. Trust me, I can provide character references.
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Robin McKinley (Sunshine)
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To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else's heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.
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Gabriel GarcΓ­a MΓ‘rquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)
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Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.
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Anne Frank
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All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.
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Sophocles (Antigone (The Theban Plays, #3))
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Character is doing what you don't want to do but know you should do.
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Joyce Meyer
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People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest.
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Hermann Hesse
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It is better to be alone than in bad company.
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George Washington
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If we were in a film, the villain would turn out to be the least-expected person. But as we aren’t in a film, I’d go for the character who tried to strangle you.
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Kerstin Gier (Ruby Red (Precious Stone Trilogy, #1))
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I would rather be a little nobody, then to be a evil somebody.
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Abraham Lincoln
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I was attempting to write the story of my life. It wasn't so much about plot. It was much more about character.
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David Levithan (Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1))
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To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.
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Theodore Roosevelt
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All cruelty springs from weakness.
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Seneca (Seneca's Morals: Of a Happy Life, Benefits, Anger and Clemency)
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Tessa craned her head back to look at Will. β€œYou know that feeling,” she said, β€œwhen you are reading a book, and you know that it is going to be a tragedy; you can feel the cold and darkness coming, see the net drawing tight around the characters who live and breathe on the pages. But you are tied to the story as if being dragged behind a carriage and you cannot let go or turn the course aside.” His blue eyes were dark with understanding β€” of course Will would understand β€” and she hurried on. β€œI feel now as if the same is happening, only not to characters on a page but to my own beloved friends and companions. I do not want to sit by while tragedy comes for us. I would turn it aside, only I struggle to discover how that might be done.” β€œYou fear for Jem,” Will said. β€œYes,” she said. β€œAnd I fear for you, too.” β€œNo,” Will said, hoarsely. β€œDon’t waste that on me, Tess.
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Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
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I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.
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Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1))
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When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.
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Ernest Hemingway (Death in the Afternoon)
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And maybe what growing up really means is knowing that you don't have to be just a character, going whichever way the story says. It's knowing you could be the author instead.
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Ava Dellaira (Love Letters to the Dead)
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One's character is set at an early age. The choices you make now will affect you for the rest of your life. I hate to see you swim out so far you can't swim back.
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Wendelin Van Draanen (Flipped)
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Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.
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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Hocus Pocus)
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The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.
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John Wooden
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A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.
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Arthur Conan Doyle (The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, #9))
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Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.
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Seneca
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Cram your head with characters and stories. Abuse your library privileges. Never stop looking at the world, and never stop reading to find out what sense other people have made of it. If people give you a hard time and tell you to get your nose out of a book, tell them you're working. Tell them it's research. Tell them to pipe down and leave you alone.
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Jennifer Weiner
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imperfections create character...
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Ellen Hopkins
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Personally, I believe β€œYoung Adult” to be an arbitrary title that means the book "Can be enjoyed by anyone/Has a main character who’s not quite an adult/Isn’t really boring.
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Shannon Hale
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The measure of a man is what he does with power.
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Plato
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Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
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Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
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A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.
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Theodore Roosevelt
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All morning I struggled with the sensation of stray wisps of one world seeping through the cracks of another. Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes -- characters even -- caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you.
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Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale)
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I'm unpredictable, I never know where I'm going until I get there, I'm so random, I'm always growing, learning, changing, I'm never the same person twice. But one thing you can be sure of about me; is I will always do exactly what I want to do.
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C. JoyBell C.
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A man with no enemies is a man with no character.
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Paul Newman
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You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.
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Malcolm Forbes
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Scar tissue has no character. It's not like skin. It doesn't show age or illness or pallor or tan. It has no pores, no hair, no wrinkles. It's like a slip cover. It shields and disguises what's beneath. That's why we grow it; we have something to hide.
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Susanna Kaysen (Girl, Interrupted)
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There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil, a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome." "And your defect is a propensity to hate everybody." "And yours," he replied with a smile, "is wilfully to misunderstand them.
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Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
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There is beauty in truth, even if it's painful. Those who lie, twist life so that it looks tasty to the lazy, brilliant to the ignorant, and powerful to the weak. But lies only strengthen our defects. They don't teach anything, help anything, fix anything or cure anything. Nor do they develop one's character, one's mind, one's heart or one's soul.
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JosΓ© N. Harris
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You know that feeling,” she said, β€œwhen you are reading a book, and you know that it is going to be a tragedy; you can feel the cold and darkness coming, see the net drawing tight around the characters who live and breathe on the pages. But you are tied to the story as if being dragged behind a carriage and you cannot let go or turn the course aside.
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Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
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Whenever someone who knows you disappears, you lose one version of yourself. Yourself as you were seen, as you were judged to be. Lover or enemy, mother or friend, those who know us construct us, and their several knowings slant the different facets of our characters like diamond-cutter's tools. Each such loss is a step leading to the grave, where all versions blend and end.
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Salman Rushdie (The Ground Beneath Her Feet)
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Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, without apathy, without pretence.
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Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
β€œ
Have you ever fought an opponent you had no defense against? Like a fire breather or an acid spitter?" "Once I faced a female with diamond skin," Nix said breathlessly. "I was transfixed - even as she was choking the life out of me." "Really?" "No, I saw that character on X-Men. I just wanted to commiserate. Alas, I have no weaknesses.
”
”
Kresley Cole (Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark, #8))
β€œ
Anyhow, I've learned one thing now. You only really get to know people when you've had a jolly good row with them. Then and then only can you judge their true characters!
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”
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
β€œ
What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered. The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging, because it also means that we are free to change this destiny. One is not in bondage to the past, which has shaped our feelings, to race, inheritance, background. All this can be altered if we have the courage to examine how it formed us. We can alter the chemistry provided we have the courage to dissect the elements.
”
”
AnaΓ―s Nin (The Diary of AnaΓ―s Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934)
β€œ
You can't blame a writer for what the characters say.
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”
Truman Capote
β€œ
If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, don't bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, of seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you will get better results if you just watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he's a good man.
”
”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
β€œ
I am not an angel," I asserted; "and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself.
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”
Charlotte BrontΓ« (Jane Eyre)
β€œ
What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.
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”
A.A. Milne
β€œ
I suppose I have found it easier to identify with the characters who verge upon hysteria, who were frightened of life, who were desperate to reach out to another person. But these seemingly fragile people are the strong people really.
”
”
Tennessee Williams
β€œ
In order to discover the character of people we have only to observe what they love.
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”
Augustine of Hippo
β€œ
We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. I wish for all this to be marked on by body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography - to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience.
”
”
Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient)
β€œ
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less. These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete... Remember, to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent. Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person might not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
”
”
Bob Moorehead (Words Aptly Spoken)
β€œ
Choices determine character.
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”
Brandon Mull (Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary (Fablehaven, #4))
β€œ
Your reputation is in the hands of others. That's what the reputation is. You can't control that. The only thing you can control is your character.
”
”
Wayne W. Dyer
β€œ
Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.
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”
Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
β€œ
You know what would help this boy?" Demeter mused. "Farming." Persephone rolled her eyes. "Mother-" "Six months behind a plow. Excellent character building.
”
”
Rick Riordan (The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5))
β€œ
Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.
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”
Josephine Hart (Damage)
β€œ
You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jellybeans.
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”
Ronald Reagan
β€œ
One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: β€˜To rise above little things’.
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”
John Burroughs
β€œ
Reputation is what others think of us; character is what God knows of us. When you have spent what feels like eternity trying to repair a few moments of time that destroyed the view others once had of you then you must ask yourself if you have the problem or is it really them? God doesn’t make us try so hard, only enemies do.
”
”
Shannon L. Alder
β€œ
People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.
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”
Eleanor Roosevelt
β€œ
Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.
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”
James A. Michener
β€œ
A person's ethics and character are not tested in good times. It is only in bad times that a person shows how steadfast he is to his dharma.
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”
Amish Tripathi (The Immortals of Meluha (Shiva Trilogy, #1))
β€œ
Image is what everyone sees when the lights are on; character is what remains when the lights are off.
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”
Idowu Koyenikan
β€œ
If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless. If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won't understand what Bastian did next.
”
”
Michael Ende (The Neverending Story)
β€œ
I might as well enquire,” replied she, β€œwhy with so evident a design of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your will, against your reason, and even against your character?
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”
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
β€œ
People that have trust issues only need to look in the mirror. There they will meet the one person that will betray them the most.
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”
Shannon L. Alder
β€œ
I'm afraid that we all make mistakes. One of the things that defines our character is how we handle mistakes. If we lie about having made a mistake, then it can't be corrected and it festers. On the other hand, if we give up just because we made a mistake, even a big mistake, none of us would get far in life.
”
”
Terry Goodkind (Confessor (Sword of Truth, #11))
β€œ
I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding. My temper I dare not vouch for. It is, I believe, too little yieldingβ€” certainly too little for the convenience of the world. I cannot forget the follies and vices of other so soon as I ought, nor their offenses against myself. My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. My temper would perhaps be called resentful. My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.
”
”
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
β€œ
I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should accept more kindly, and even appreciate more clearly, if we simply thought of them as people in a story.
”
”
G.K. Chesterton (What I Saw in America)
β€œ
People don't have any mercy. They tear you limb from limb, in the name of love. Then, when you're dead, when they've killed you by what they made you go through, they say you didn't have any character. They weep big, bitter tears - not for you. For themselves, because they've lost their toy.
”
”
James Baldwin (Another Country)
β€œ
Be an independent thinker at all times, and ignore anyone who attempts to define you in a limiting way.
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”
Sherry Argov (Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirlβ€”A Woman's Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship)
β€œ
The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way.
”
”
Heraclitus
β€œ
We should strive to welcome change and challenges, because they are what help us grow. With out them we grow weak like the Eloi in comfort and security. We need to constantly be challenging ourselves in order to strengthen our character and increase our intelligence.
”
”
H.G. Wells (The Time Machine)
β€œ
I am tired of people saying that poor character is the only reason people do wrong things. Actually, circumstances cause people to act a certain way. It's from those circumstances that a person's attitude is affected followed by weakening of character. Not the reverse. If we had no faults of our own, we should not take so much pleasure in noticing those in others and judging their lives as either black or white, good or bad. We all live our lives in shades of gray.
”
”
Shannon L. Alder
β€œ
It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.
”
”
Joseph Heller (Catch-22)
β€œ
Once a month, some women act like men act all the time.
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”
Robert A. Heinlein
β€œ
Sometimes I reread my favorite books from back to front. I start with the last chapter and read backward until I get to the beginning. When you read this way, characters go from hope to despair, from self-knowledge to doubt. In love stories, couples start out as lovers and end as strangers. Coming-of-age books become stories of losing your way. Your favorite characters come back to life.
”
”
Nicola Yoon (Everything, Everything)
β€œ
No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.
”
”
Orson F. Whitney
β€œ
Reading changes your life. Reading unlocks worlds unknown or forgotten, taking travelers around the world and through time. Reading helps you escape the confines of school and pursue your own education. Through characters – the saints and the sinners, real or imagined – reading shows you how to be a better human being.
”
”
Donalyn Miller (The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child)
β€œ
Class is an aura of confidence that is being sure without being cocky. Class has nothing to do with money. Class never runs scared. It is self-discipline and self-knowledge. It's the sure-footedness that comes with having proved you can meet life.
”
”
Ann Landers
β€œ
Show me a man with a tattoo and I'll show you a man with an interesting past.
”
”
Jack London
β€œ
You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, you find out who they really are.
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”
Joss Whedon
β€œ
Why do I read? I just can't help myself. I read to learn and to grow, to laugh and to be motivated. I read to understand things I've never been exposed to. I read when I'm crabby, when I've just said monumentally dumb things to the people I love. I read for strength to help me when I feel broken, discouraged, and afraid. I read when I'm angry at the whole world. I read when everything is going right. I read to find hope. I read because I'm made up not just of skin and bones, of sights, feelings, and a deep need for chocolate, but I'm also made up of words. Words describe my thoughts and what's hidden in my heart. Words are alive--when I've found a story that I love, I read it again and again, like playing a favorite song over and over. Reading isn't passive--I enter the story with the characters, breathe their air, feel their frustrations, scream at them to stop when they're about to do something stupid, cry with them, laugh with them. Reading for me, is spending time with a friend. A book is a friend. You can never have too many.
”
”
Gary Paulsen (Shelf Life: Stories by the Book)
β€œ
A SMALL PIECE OF TRUTH I do not carry a sickle or scythe. I only wear a hooded black robe when it's cold. And I don't have those skull-like facial features you seem to enjoy pinning on me from a distance. You want to know what I truly look like? I'll help you out. Find yourself a mirror while I continue.
”
”
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
β€œ
When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the center of every constellation, and people want to be near you.
”
”
Shannon L. Alder
β€œ
LAW 25 Re-Create Yourself Do not accept the roles that society foists on you. Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define if for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions – your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.
”
”
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
β€œ
You forget everything. The hours slip by. You travel in your chair through centuries you seem seem to see before you, your thoughts are caught up in the story, dallying with the details or following the course of the plot, you enter into characters, so that it seems as if it were your own heart beating beneath their costumes.
”
”
Gustave Flaubert (Madame Bovary)
β€œ
Keep in mind that the true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good.
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”
Ann Landers
β€œ
We cannot live better than in seeking to become better.
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”
Socrates
β€œ
You think that you are an iconoclast, but you’re not. You just move, or replace what you cannot have. If you fail at something, you retreat into something else. Nothing changes you.... I left you because I knew I could never change you. You would stand in the room so still sometimes, as if the greatest betrayal of yourself would be to reveal one more inch of your character.
”
”
Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient)
β€œ
I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything - other people, trees, clouds. And this is what I learned, that the world's otherness is antidote to confusion - that standing within this otherness - the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books - can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.
”
”
Mary Oliver
β€œ
There were five others before they got to him. He smiled a little when his turn came. His voice was low, smoky, and dead sexy. β€œMy name is Augustus Waters,” he said. β€œI’m seventeen. I had a little touch of osteosarcoma a year and a half ago, but I’m just here today at Isaac’s request.” β€œAnd how are you feeling?” asked Patrick. β€œOh, I’m grand.” Augustus Waters smiled with a corner of his mouth. β€œI’m on a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend.
”
”
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
β€œ
Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy.
”
”
Dean Koontz
β€œ
Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since – on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real, or more impossible to displace with your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be. Estella, to the last hour of my life, you cannot choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil. But, in this separation I associate you only with the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you must have done me far more good than harm, let me feel now what sharp distress I may. O God bless you, God forgive you!
”
”
Charles Dickens (Great Expectations)
β€œ
I picked up one of the books and flipped through it. Don't get me wrong, I like reading. But some books should come with warning labels: Caution: contains characters and plots guaranteed to induce sleepiness. Do not attempt to operate heavy machinery after ingesting more than one chapter. Has been known to cause blindness, seizures and a terminal loathing of literature. Should only be taken under the supervision of a highly trained English teacher. Preferably one who grades on the curve.
”
”
Laurie Halse Anderson (Twisted)
β€œ
There are certain life lessons that you can only learn in the struggle.
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”
Idowu Koyenikan (Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability)
β€œ
Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing 1. Never open a book with weather. 2. Avoid prologues. 3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. 4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely. 5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. 6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose." 7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. 8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters. 9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things. 10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. My most important rule is one that sums up the 10. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
”
”
Elmore Leonard
β€œ
It is not so much about what life hands you, but what you do with what you get.
”
”
Idowu Koyenikan (Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability)
β€œ
It's easy to look back and see it, and it's easy to give the advice. But the sad fact is, most people don't look beneath the surface until it's too late.
”
”
Wendelin Van Draanen (Flipped)
β€œ
Your pride for your country should not come after your country becomes great; your country becomes great because of your pride in it.
”
”
Idowu Koyenikan
β€œ
In a strange way, I had fallen in love with my depression. Dr. Sterling was right about that. I loved it because I thought it was all I had. I thought depression was the part of my character that made me worthwhile. I thought so little of myself, felt that I had such scant offerings to give to the world, that the one thing that justified my existence at all was my agony.
”
”
Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
β€œ
Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
”
”
Albert Schweitzer
β€œ
Did you ever want to set someone's head on fire, just to see what it looked like? Did you ever stand in the street and think to yourself, I could make that nun go blind just by giving her a kiss? Did you ever lay out plans for stitching babies and stray cats into a Perfect New Human? Did you ever stand naked surrounded by people who want your gleaming sperm, squirting frankincense, soma and testosterone from every pore? If so, then you're the bastard who stole my drugs Friday night. And I'll find you. Oh, yes.
”
”
Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, Vol. 5: Lonely City)
β€œ
Protect your good image from the eyes of negative viewers, who may look at your good appearance with an ugly fiendish eye, and ruin your positive qualities with their chemical infested tongues.
”
”
Michael Bassey Johnson
β€œ
Authors also create lovable, friendly characters, then proceed to do terrible things to them, like throw them in unsightly librarian-controlled dungeons. This makes readers feel hurt and worried for the characters. The simple truth is that authors like making people squirm. If this weren't the case, all novels would be filled completely with cute bunnies having birthday parties.
”
”
Brandon Sanderson (Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1))
β€œ
Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an orientation of character which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one β€œobject” of love. If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism. Yet, most people believe that love is constituted by the object, not by the faculty.
”
”
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
β€œ
It isn't the big troubles in life that require character. Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh - I really think that requires spirit. It's the kind of character that I am going to develop. I am going to pretend that all life is just a game which I must play as skillfully and fairly as I can. If I lose, I am going to shrug my shoulders and laugh - also if I win.
”
”
Jean Webster (Daddy Long Legs)
β€œ
This story ["The Depressed Person"] was the most painful thing I ever wrote. It's about narcissism, which is a part of depression. The character has traits of myself. I really lost friends while writing on that story, I became ugly and unhappy and just yelled at people. The cruel thing with depression is that it's such a self-centered illness - Dostoevsky shows that pretty good in his "Notes from Underground". The depression is painful, you're sapped/consumed by yourself; the worse the depression, the more you just think about yourself and the stranger and repellent you appear to others.
”
”
David Foster Wallace
β€œ
Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her. I mean, is β€˜fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is β€˜fat’ worse than β€˜vindictive’, β€˜jealous’, β€˜shallow’, β€˜vain’, β€˜boring’ or β€˜cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain… I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? β€˜You’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!’ β€˜Well,’ I said, slightly nonplussed, β€˜the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’ What I felt like saying was, β€˜I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren’t either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?’ But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate! I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before β€˜thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.
”
”
J.K. Rowling
β€œ
Teenage girls, please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete. Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful, like some babbling old Tennessee Williams character with nothing else going on in her current life. What I’ve noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also big star later in life. For us overlooked kids, it’s so wonderfully fair.
”
”
Mindy Kaling (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns))
β€œ
She drinks pints of coffee and writes little observations and ideas for stories with her best fountain pen on the linen-white pages of expensive notebooks. Sometimes, when it's going badly, she wonders if what she believes to be a love of the written word is really just a fetish for stationery.
”
”
David Nicholls (One Day)
β€œ
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help little men by tearing down big men. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence. And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
”
”
William J.H. Boetcker
β€œ
In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.
”
”
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
β€œ
If you have never spent whole afternoons with burning ears and rumpled hair, forgetting the world around you over a book, forgetting cold and hunger-- If you have never read secretly under the bedclothes with a flashlight, because your father or mother or some other well-meaning person has switched off the lamp on the plausible ground that it was time to sleep because you had to get up so early-- If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless-- If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won't understand what Bastian did next.
”
”
Michael Ende (The Neverending Story)
β€œ
You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing β€” that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.
”
”
Richard P. Feynman ("What Do You Care What Other People Think?": Further Adventures of a Curious Character)
β€œ
I look up at the sky, wondering if I'll catch a glimpse of kindness there, but I don't. All I see are indifferent summer clouds drifting over the Pacific. And they have nothing to say to me. Clouds are always taciturn. I probably shouldn't be looking up at them. What I should be looking at is inside of me. Like staring down into a deep well. Can I see kindness there? No, all I see is my own nature. My own individual, stubborn, uncooperative often self-centered nature that still doubts itself--that, when troubles occur, tries to find something funny, or something nearly funny, about the situation. I've carried this character around like an old suitcase, down a long, dusty path. I'm not carrying it because I like it. The contents are too heavy, and it looks crummy, fraying in spots. I've carried it with me because there was nothing else I was supposed to carry. Still, I guess I have grown attached to it. As you might expect.
”
”
Haruki Murakami (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)
β€œ
Proximity has taught me some basic and humbling truths, including this vital lesson: Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done. My work with the poor and the incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice. Finally, I’ve come to believe that the true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.
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Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption)
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For several years, I had been bored. Not a whining, restless child's boredom (although I was not above that) but a dense, blanketing malaise. It seemed to me that there was nothing new to be discovered ever again. Our society was utterly, ruinously derivative (although the word derivative as a criticism is itself derivative). We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can't recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn't immediately reference to a movie or TV show. A fucking commercial. You know the awful singsong of the blasΓ©: Seeeen it. I've literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can't anymore. I don't know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script. It's a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters. And if all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as a soul mate, because we don't have genuine souls. It had gotten to the point where it seemed like nothing matters, because I'm not a real person and neither is anyone else. I would have done anything to feel real again.
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Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
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Still, I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We're in one, of course, but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years and years afterwards. And people will say: "Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring!" And they will say: "Yes, that's one of my favourite stories. Frodo was very brave, wasn't he, dad?" "Yes, my boy, the famousest of the hobbits, and that's saying a lot." 'It's saying a lot too much,' said Frodo, and he laughed, a long clear laugh from his heart. Such a sound had not been heard in those places since Sauron came to Middle-earth. To Sam suddenly it seemed as if all the stones were listening and the tall rocks leaning over them. But Frodo did not heed them; he laughed again. 'Why, Sam,' he said, 'to hear you somehow makes me as merry as if the story was already written. But you've left out one of the chief characters: Samwise the stouthearted. "I want to hear more about Sam, dad. Why didn't they put in more of his talk, dad? That's what I like, it makes me laugh. And Frodo wouldn't have got far without Sam, would he, dad?"' 'Now, Mr. Frodo,' said Sam, 'you shouldn't make fun. I was serious.' 'So was I,' said Frodo, 'and so I am.
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J.R.R. Tolkien (The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2))
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One of the things I love about books is being able to define and condense certain portions of a character's life into chapters. It's intriguing, because you can't do this with real life. You can't just end a chapter, then skip the things you don't want to live through, only to open it up to a chapter that better suits your mood. Life can't be divided into chapters... only minutes. The events of your life are all crammed together one minute right after the other without any time lapses or blank pages or chapter breaks because no matter what happens life just keeps going and moving forward and words keep flowing and truths keep spewing whether you like it or not and life never lets you pause and just catch your fucking breath. I need one of those chapter breaks. I just want to catch my breath, but I have no idea how.
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Colleen Hoover (Hopeless (Hopeless, #1))
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I have one outstanding trait in my character, which must strike anyone who knows me for any length of time, and that is my knowledge of myself. I can watch myself and my actions, just like an outsider. The Anne of every day I can face entirely without prejudice, without making excuses for her, and watch what's good and what's bad about her. This 'self-consciousness' haunts me, and every time I open my mouth I know as soon as I've spoken whether 'that ought to have been different' or 'that was right as it was.' There are so many things about myself that I condemn; I couldn't begin to name them all. I understand more and more how true Daddy's words were when he said: 'All children must look after their own upbringing.' Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.
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Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
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I have now been married ten years. I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest - blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband's life as fully as he is mine. No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. I know no weariness of my Edward's society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together. To be together is for us to be at once free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character - perfect concord is the result.
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Charlotte BrontΓ« (Jane Eyre)
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The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
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Carl Sagan
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I have often noticed that we are inclined to endow our friends with the stability of type that literary characters acquire in the reader's mind. [...] Whatever evolution this or that popular character has gone through between the book covers, his fate is fixed in our minds, and, similarly, we expect our friends to follow this or that logical and conventional pattern we have fixed for them. Thus X will never compose the immortal music that would clash with the second-rate symphonies he has accustomed us to. Y will never commit murder. Under no circumstances can Z ever betray us. We have it all arranged in our minds, and the less often we see a particular person, the more satisfying it is to check how obediently he conforms to our notion of him every time we hear of him. Any deviation in the fates we have ordained would strike us as not only anomalous but unethical. We could prefer not to have known at all our neighbor, the retired hot-dog stand operator, if it turns out he has just produced the greatest book of poetry his age has seen.
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Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
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Make New Year's goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you're interested in fully living life in the year to come. Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level. Goals give our life direction. What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed? What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love? What would you like to have happen in your family life? What problems would you like to see solved? What decisions would you like to make? What would you like to happen in your career? Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your time, and write it all down - as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then let it go. The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.
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Melody Beattie (The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency (Hazelden Meditation Series))
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Life has no victims. There are no victims in this life. No one has the right to point fingers at his/her past and blame it for what he/she is today. We do not have the right to point our finger at someone else and blame that person for how we treat others, today. Don’t hide in the corner, pointing fingers at your past. Don’t sit under the table, talking about someone who has hurt you. Instead, stand up and face your past! Face your fears! Face your pain! And stomach it all! You may have to do so kicking and screaming and throwing fits and crying- but by all means- face it! This life makes no room for cowards.
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C. JoyBell C. (The Sun Is Snowing: Poetry & Prose by C. Joybell C)
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We are like a bunch of dogs squirting on fire hydrants. We poison the groundwater with our toxic piss, marking everything MINE in a ridiculous attempt to survive our deaths. I can't stop pissing on fire hydrants...I am an animal like any other. Hazel is different. she walks lightly, old man. She walks lightly upon the earth. She knows the truth: We're as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we're not likely to do either. People will say it's sad that she leaves a lesser scar, that fewer remember her, that she was loved deeply but not widely. But it's not sad. It's triumphant. It's heroic. Isn't that the real heroism? The real heroes anyway aren't the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention.
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John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
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The worst part is wondering how you’ll find the strength tomorrow to go on doing what you did today and have been doing for much too long, where you’ll find the strength for all that stupid running around, those projects that come to nothing, those attempts to escape from crushing necessity, which always founder and serve only to convince you one more time that destiny is implacable, that every night will find you down and out, crushed by the dread of more and more sordid and insecure tomorrows. And maybe it’s treacherous old age coming on, threatening the worst. Not much music left inside us for life to dance to. Our youth has gone to the ends of the earth to die in the silence of the truth. And where, I ask you, can a man escape to, when he hasn’t enough madness left inside him? The truth is an endless death agony. The truth is death. You have to choose: death or lies. I’ve never been able to kill myself.
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Louis-Ferdinand CΓ©line
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If what's always distinguished bad writing--flat characters, a narrative world that's clichΓ©d and not recognizably human, etc.--is also a description of today's world, then bad writing becomes an ingenious mimesis of a bad world. If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then [Bret] Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything. Look man, we'd probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it'd find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it. Postmodern irony and cynicism's become an end in itself, a measure of hip sophistication and literary savvy. Few artists dare to try to talk about ways of working toward redeeming what's wrong, because they'll look sentimental and naive to all the weary ironists. Irony's gone from liberating to enslaving. There's some great essay somewhere that has a line about irony being the song of the prisoner who's come to love his cage… The postmodern founders' patricidal work was great, but patricide produces orphans, and no amount of revelry can make up for the fact that writers my age have been literary orphans throughout our formative years. We enter a spiritual puberty where we snap to the fact that the great transcendent horror is loneliness, excluded encagement in the self. Once we’ve hit this age, we will now give or take anything, wear any mask, to fit, be part-of, not be Alone, we young. The U.S. arts are our guide to inclusion. A how-to. We are shown how to fashion masks of ennui and jaded irony at a young age where the face is fictile enough to assume the shape of whatever it wears. And then it’s stuck there, the weary cynicism that saves us from gooey sentiment and unsophisticated naΓ―vetΓ©. Sentiment equals naΓ―vetΓ© on this continent. You burn with hunger for food that does not exist. A U. S. of modern A. where the State is not a team or a code, but a sort of sloppy intersection of desires and fears, where the only public consensus a boy must surrender to is the acknowledged primacy of straight-line pursuing this flat and short-sighted idea of personal happiness.
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David Foster Wallace