concept

identity Quotes

100+ of the best book quotes about identity
01
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“I’ve only been half myself lately, and I thought coming here would let me work this part out of me so I could be me again.”
Shannon Hale
author
Austenland
book
Jane
character
identity
concept
02
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“One of the biggest surprises in this research was learning that fitting in and belonging are not the same thing. In fact, fitting in is one of the greatest barriers to belonging. Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be in order to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”
identity
fitting in
belonging
concepts
03
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“If you base your identity on having friends, being accepted, and being popular, you may find yourself compromising your standards or changing them every weekend to accommodate your friends.”
05
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“Thomas rocked back on his heels, then ran his arm across his forehead, wiping away the sweat. And at that moment, in the space of only a few seconds, he learned a lot about himself. About the Thomas that was before. He couldn’t leave a friend to die”
06
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“Who wanted to reassure her? Mr. Nobley or the actual man, Actor X?”
07
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“She did not look into my eyes, did not see the lion inside. She did not see the me of me, the Isabel.”
08
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“You know I’d never expect you to change who you are, if you were my wife,” he finally said. “It would change me to be your wife,” she said. He watched her eyes.“Yes. I understand you.”
Wife
person
Katsa
character
change
identity
concepts
09
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″‘Why did you do it anyway?‘he says. ‘I don’t know. To show them that I’m more than just a piece in their Games?’ I say.”
10
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“We have come to realize in modern times that the ‘melting pot’ need not mean the end of particular ethnic identities or traditions.”
11
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″‘She’s not dead. She’s a drama queen. Wants attention.‘”
12
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“I don’t want to be ugly all my life. I want those perfect eyes and lips, and for everyone to look at me and gasp. And for everyone who sees me to think, ‘Who’s that?’ and want to get to know me, and listen to what I say.”
13
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“Living on borders and in margins, keeping intact one’s shifting and multiple identity and integrity, is like trying to swim in a new element, an “alien” element.”
15
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“To find Margo Roth Spiegelman, you must become Margo Roth Spiegelman.”
16
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“It’s about becoming what I want to become. Not what some surgical committee thinks I should.”
17
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“You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go. It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity.”
18
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“Death ain’t nothing but a fastball on the outside corner.”
19
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“I can’t change where I come from or what I’ve been through, so why should I be ashamed of what makes me, me?”
20
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“A woman stood in the kitchen with her back to Coraline. She looked a little like Coraline’s mother. Only...”
21
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“Call me however what thou wilt—I am who I must be. I call myself Zarathustra.”
22
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“My voice is changing already. It always happens around ‘other’ people, whether I’m at Williamson or not. I don’t talk like me or sound like me. I choose every word carefully and make sure I pronounce them well. I can never, ever let anyone think I’m ghetto.”
23
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“Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”
24
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“I wasn’t going to let one person’s opinion dislodge everything I thought I knew about myself. Instead, I switched my method without changing my goal.”
25
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″‘No,’ said Coraline quietly, ‘I asked you not to call me Caroline. It’s Coraline.‘”
26
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“‘This is where you can find your soul, if you dare. Where you can touch that part of you that you’ve never dared look at before.’”
27
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“This closet is abandoned - it has no purpose, no name. It is the perfect place for me.”
28
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“The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.”
29
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“I know what I want, I have a goal, an opinion, I have a religion and love. Let me be myself and then I am satisfied. I know that I’m a woman, a woman with inward strength and plenty of courage.”
30
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“It’s like my identity’s an orbit that I’ve strayed far away from.”
31
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“We are what we choose to be.”
32
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“‘But the you who you are tonight is the same you I was in love with yesterday, the same you I’ll be in love with tomorrow. I love that you’re fragile and tough, quiet and kick-ass. Hell, you’re one of the punkest girls I know, no matter who you listen to or what you wear.’”
33
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“Which of my feelings are real? Which of the mes is me? There is only one me I’ve ever really liked, and he was good and awake as long as he could be.”
34
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“Worthless. Stupid. These are the words I grew up hearing. They’re the words I try to outrun, because if I let them in, they might stay there and grow and fill me up and in, until the only thing left of me is worthless stupid worthless stupid worthless stupid freak. And then there’s nothing to do but run harder and fill myself with other words: This time will be different. This time, I will stay awake.”
35
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“Maybe, if I wear the glasses long enough, I can be like her. I can see what she saw. I can be both of us at once so no one will have to miss her, most of all me.”
36
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″‘You’ve been pretty lazy all along, haven’t you?’ ‘Yes, I guess I have been.’ ‘You didn’t even know anything about yourself.’ ‘I don’t guess I did, in a way.‘”
37
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“‘He’s a gentleman.’ There aren’t many people who would say this about me, but the great thing about this life of ours is that you can be someone different to everybody.”
38
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“The walls are lined with school photos. Finch in kindergarten. Finch in middle school. He looks different every year, not just agewise but personwise. Class-clown Finch. Awkward Finch. Cocky Finch. Jock Finch.”
39
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“I did not cry then or ever about Finny. I did not cry even when I stood watching him being lowered into his family’s strait-laced burial ground outside of Boston. I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral, and you do not cry in that case.”
40
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“‘You bear many names, and so I shall name you as well.’ Her hand rose to Celaena’s forehead and she drew an invisible mark. ‘I name you Elentiya.’ She kissed the assassin’s brow. “I give you this name to use with honor, to use when other names grow too heavy. I name you Elentiya, ‘Spirit That Could Not Be Broken.””
41
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″‘But I guess you’re different, aren’t you, Bud? I guess you sort of carry your family around inside of you, huh?’ ‘I guess I do. Inside my suitcase, too.‘”
42
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“I abandoned my disguise and became myself, free from fear or weakness or lust.”
43
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Then it is done. From this day forward, the truth of you, now and forever more, will be Sidious.
44
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“As long as you can find yourself, you’ll never starve.”
45
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“We sat still and we held our breath. For our face and our body were beautiful. Our face was not like the faces of our brothers, for we felt no pity when looking upon it. Our body was not like the bodies of our brothers, for our limbs were straight and thin and hard and strong. And we thought that we could trust this being who looked upon us from the stream, and that we had nothing to fear with this being.”
46
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“We are old now, yet we were young this morning, when we carried our glass box through the streets of the City to the Home of the Scholars.”
47
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“We are one in all and all in one. There are no men but only the great WE, One, indivisible and forever.”
48
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“I was always aware that I was Frank Abagnale, Jr., that I was a check swindler and a faker, and if and when I was caught I wasn’t going to win any Oscars. I was going to jail.”
49
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Underneath my outside face, There’s a face that none can see. A little less smiley, A little less sure, But a whole lot more like me.
50
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“You can’t just wake up one day and decide to be an elephant, Alfred. The world doesn’t work like that. There are rules, Alfred. And you want to stomp all over them. Get over yourself.”
51
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“– Ah, it’s a scandalous shame for you, Stephen, said his mother, and you’ll live to rue the day you set your foot in that place. I know how it has changed you.”
52
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“I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise.”
53
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“Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am, Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary, Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest, Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next, Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it.”
54
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“Love, after all, always said more about those who felt it than it did about the ones they loved.”
55
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“I resist any thing better than my own diversity, Breathe the air but leave plenty after me, And am not stuck up, and am in my place.”
56
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“Trouble was, at the time I didn’t know what I was or who I was.”
57
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“Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from.”
58
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“Where you are is who you are. The inside further inside you the place moves, the more your identity is intertwined with it. Never casual, the choice of place is the choice of something you crave.”
59
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“Any arbitrary turning along the way and I would be elsewhere; I would be different.”
60
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“Although divorce was harder than a death, still I felt oddly returned to myself after many years in a close family.”
61
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″‘The only chance I had of coming at Prince Justin was to use that curse she’d put on me to get near her.’ ‘So you were going to rescue the Prince!’ Sophie shouted. ‘Why did you pretend to run away? To deceive the Witch?’ ‘Not likely!’ Howl yelled. ‘I’m a coward. Only way I can do something this frightening is to tell myself I’m not doing it!’ Oh dear! Sophie thought, looking round at the swirling grit. He’s being honest! And this is a wind. The last bit of the curse has come true!”
62
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“My name back then was Chiyo. I wouldn’t be known by my geisha name, Sayuri, until years later.”
63
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“I sometimes lift the brocade cover on the mirror of my makeup stand, and have the briefest flicker of a thought that I may find her there in the glass, smirking at me.”
64
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“She said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with not understanding yourself.’ ”
65
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“I’m sure I looked no more elegant than a guest at an inn looks wearing a robe on the way to the bath. But I’d never before worn anything nearly so glamorous on my body.”
66
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“Maybe that’s what a person’s personality is: the difference between the inside and the outside.”
67
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“Only when she sits before her mirror to apply her makeup with care does she become a geisha. And I don’t mean that this is when she begins to look like one. This is when she begins to think like one too.”
68
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“Names are powerful things. They act as an identity marker and a kind of map, locating you in time and geography. More than that, they can be a compass.”
69
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“As I confronted her, the changes grew less apparent to me, her identity stronger. She was there, in the full vigor of her personality, battered but not diminished, looking at me, speaking to me in the husky, breathy voice I remembered so well.”
70
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“I am thee and thou art me and all of one is the other.”
71
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“I thought it would be easier if we were just one color, black or white. I didn’t want to be white. My siblings had already instilled the notion of black pride in me. I would have preferred that Mommy were black. Now, as a grown man, I feel privileged to have come from two worlds.”
72
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“I looked at myself in the mirror of the big armoire beside the bed . . . Of all the ways to be wounded. I suppose it was funny.”
73
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″ ‘Listen,’ she said, ‘you shouldn’t call yourself The Misfit because I know you’re a good man at heart. I can just look at you and tell.’ ”
74
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“You have words of your own, Cassia,” Grandfather says to me. “I have heard some of them and they are beautiful.”
Cassia
character
beauty
words
identity
concepts
75
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“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”
76
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“Then I went on, and my feet seemed to be a long way off, and everything seemed to come from a long way off, and I could hear my feet walking a great distance away.”
77
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“I mistrust all frank and simple people, especially when their stories hold together...”
78
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“Then, the question I asked myself was: Do I look pretty? Now, the question I ask is: Do I look strong?”
Cassia
character
79
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″...as all the time I was kneeling with my forehead on the wood in front of me, and was thinking of myself as praying, I was a little ashamed, and I regretted that I was such a rotten Catholic, but realized there was nothing I could do about it, at least for a while and maybe never, but that anyway it was a grand religion, and I only wished I felt religious and maybe I would the next time.”
80
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“To be black was to be the beneficiary of a great inheritance, a special destiny, glorious burdens that only we were strong enough to bear.”
81
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“The emotions between the races could never be pure; even love was tarnished by the desire to find in the other some element that was missing in ourselves. Whether we sought out our demons or salvation, the other race would always remain just that: menacing, alien, and apart.”
82
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“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.”
83
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“Do you think there’s a difference? Between belonging with and belong to, I mean?”
84
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“Margot would say she belongs to herself. Kitty would say she belongs to no one. And I guess I would say I belong to my sisters and my dad, but that won’t always be true. To belong to someone - I didn’t know it, but now that I think about it, it seems like that’s all I’ve ever wanted. To really be somebody’s , and to have them be mine.”
85
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“Away from my mother, away from my grandparents, I was engaged in a fitful interior struggle. I was trying to raise myself to be a black man in America, and beyond the given of my appearance, no one around me seemed to know exactly what that meant.”
86
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“My identity might begin with the fact of my race, but it didn’t, couldn’t, end there.”
87
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“That’s what the leadership was teaching me, day by day: that the self-interest I was supposed to be looking for extended well beyond the immediacy of issues, that beneath the small talk and sketchy biographies and received opinions, people carried with them some central explanation of themselves. Stories full of terror and wonder, studded with events that still haunted or inspired them. Sacred stories.”
88
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“I learned to slip back and forth between my black and white worlds, understanding that each possessed its own language and customs and structures of meaning, convinced that with a bit of translation on my part the two worlds would eventually cohere.”
89
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“I had never seen him angry. “Sometimes I don’t think you’re human,” my mother told him. It was the sort of thing she said just before she left, and it bothered me, because it seemed as if she wanted him to be meaner, less good.”
90
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“He said we were making this move to learn about bravery and courage. That sounded awfully familiar.”
91
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“Everybody is just walking along concerned with his own problems, his own life, his own worries. And we’re all expecting other people to tune into our own agenda. ‘Look at my worry. Worry with me. Step into my life. Care about my problems. Care about me.‘” Gram sighed.”
92
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“I can’t tell you exactly who I am,” replied the querulous whine, “because I’ve only been born a few hours – but my last name is certainly Button.”
93
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“The one thing we could not do was settle on a name. Nothing seemed quite right. Nothing was perfect enough for this baby. My father seemed more worried about this than my mother. “Something will come to us,” my mother said. “The perfect name will arrive in the air one day.”″
94
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“I wish someone would call me by my real name. My name isn’t Sugar. It’s Chanhassen.”
95
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“I’d spent nearly sixty years trying to hide how competitive I was, and it didn’t work anyway, so why didn’t I just own it? I am competitive. I want to be the best. I want to pursue excellence every day of my life.”
96
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“The problem of human existence is the forgetfulness of the Divine essence of the Self and the identification with the body as the Self.”
97
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Perhaps it’s impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.
98
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“As a general rule, most women, before they’ve got ‘em, present to their men smiling, agreeing faces. They hide their thoughts. You now, when you’re feeling hateful, honey, you are hateful.”
99
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“My name is Kathy H. I’m thirty-one years old, and I’ve been a carer now for over eleven years.”
100
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“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was- I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds.”
101
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“Nevertheless, we all of us, to varying degrees, believed that when you saw the person you were copied from, you’d get some insight into who you were deep down, and maybe too, you’d see something of what your life held in store.”
102
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“A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.”
103
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“As we got older, I didn’t seem to exist, except in relation to her.”
104
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“Either this girl loses her sister, I think, or she’s going to lose herself.”
105
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“I felt myself melting into the shadows like the negative of a person I’d never seen before in my life.”
106
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“Asagai: …You came up to me and you said… “Mr. Asagai—I want very much to talk with you. About Africa. You see, Mr. Asagai, I am looking for my identity! (He laughs).”
107
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“Maybe my problem isn’t that I can’t go home. I will miss my mother and father and Caleb and evening firelight and the clack of my mother’s knitting needles, but that is not the only reason for this hollow feeling in my stomach. My problem might be that even if I did go home, I wouldn’t belong there, among people who give without thinking and care without trying.”
108
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“No, I was wrong; I didn’t jump off the roof because I wanted to be like the Dauntless. I jumped off because I already was like them, and I wanted to show myself to them. I wanted to acknowledge a part of myself that Abnegation demanded that I hide.”
109
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“When I look at the Abnegation lifestyle as an outsider, I think it’s beautiful. When I watch my family move in harmony; when we go to dinner parties and everyone cleans together afterward without having to be asked; when I see Caleb help strangers carry their groceries, I fall in love with this life all over again. It’s only when I try to live it myself that I have trouble. It never feels genuine. But choosing a different faction means I forsake my family. Permanently.”
110
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“Anonymity was one of the major perks of the OASIS.”
111
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“I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullaballoo.”
112
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“Doreen had intuition. Everything she said was like a secret voice speaking straight out of my own bones.”
113
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“I felt myself shrinking to a small black dot [...] I felt like a hole in the ground.”
114
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“I want to sue (my parents) for the rights to my own body.”
115
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If I could wake up in a different place, at a different time, could I wake up as a different person?
116
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″‘I don’t really know,’ I heard myself say. I felt a deep shock hearing myself say that, because the minute I said it, I knew it was true.”
117
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You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet.
118
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“I have a feeling that if I really try to figure out who I am without Kate in the equation, I’m not going to like who I see.”
119
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“Huh, Dilsey said. Name aint going to help him. Hurt him, neither. Folks don’t have no luck, changing names. My name been Dilsey since fore I could remember and it be Dilsey when they’s long forgot me.”
120
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“That, and so many other smaller incidents in my life, made me realize that language, even more than color, defines who you are to people.”
121
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“Everything about the house was rich, and dense, and rooted. It was everything I wasn’t. Even the air, with its distinct smell of oak wood and sage, spoke to its identify and its history. I couldn’t help but feel small here. Overwhelmed. Incompatible.”
122
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“Freak says we can’t expect her to understand, because you can’t really get what it means to be Freak the Mighty unless you are Freak the Mighty.”
123
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They made you into a statistic. But, that’s not the real you. That’s not who you are inside.
124
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“I’m not really sure which parts of myself are real and which parts are things I’ve gotten from books.”
125
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“Willy, when’re you gonna realize that them things don’t mean anything. You named him Howard, but you can’t sell that. The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell. And the funny thing is that you’re a salesman, and you don’t know that.”
126
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“Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself.”
127
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“My name is something I wear, like a shirt. It gets worn, I outgrow it, I change it.”
128
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“And by the time he met Big Mike, he had a new unofficial title: Life Guidance Counselor to whatever black athlete stumbled into the Briarcrest Christian School. The black kids reminded him, in a funny way, of himself. Sean knew what it meant to be the poor kid in a private school, because he’d been one himself.”
129
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“I’m erased. I’m gone. I’m nothing. And then the world is free to flow into me like water into an empty bowl . . .I see. I hear. But not with eyes and ears. I’m not outside my world anymore, and I’m not really inside it either. The thing is, there’s no difference between me and the universe. The boundary is gone. I am it and it is me. I am a stone, a cactus thorn. I am rain. I like that most of all, being rain.”
130
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“Once upon a time a man who had become invisible arrived in America.”
131
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“I have lost control over everything, even the places in my head.”
132
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“In that one there is hope,” I heard my uncle Juan say to mother. I knew he talked about me. ”
133
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“It was true, I thought, it is the Márez blood in us that touches us with this urge to wander. Like the restless, seeking sea.”
134
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“She had grown older. And he loved her more now than he had loved her when he understood her better, when she was the product of her parents. What she was now was what she herself had decided to become.”
135
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“What if I’m a princess on another planet? And no one on this planet knows it?”
136
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“And when that celestial chime sounds, perhaps a mirror will suddenly serve its truer purpose—revealing to a man not who he imagines himself to be, but who he has become.”
137
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“I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other . . . It was like being Indian was my job, but it was only a part-time job. And it didn’t pay well at all.”
138
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“You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged.”
139
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“Jok made the sounds indicating he was ready to sleep, so she took off her hat and unwound her hair, scratched her head, and sighed. The weight of her hair on her back reminded her that she was not who she was. That she was a secret.”
140
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″‘Then again, you could always just stick with half English and half Israeli, since—’ ‘I’M AMERICAN!’ I shouted. My mother blinked. From the corner of the room where he was looking at the pictures in a magazine, Bird muttered, ‘No, you’re not. You’re Jewish.‘”
141
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“Ani lay down and, putting one arm over her face as though it were a wing, tried to shut out the world where she did not belong.”
142
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“Just think of it, Crown Princess, you can start a new life with new possibilities. You will decide who you are.”
143
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“The winter breeze still brushed against her cheek, and again she heard her name— Princess—and what had laid on her tongue since the morning of her birth now loosened.”
144
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“My name is Percy Jackson. I’m twelve years old. Until a few months ago, I was a boarding student at Yancy Academy, a private school for troubled kids in upstate New York. Am I a troubled kid? Yeah. You could say that.”
145
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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?”
146
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“My book was nowhere to be found. Aside from myself, there was no sign of me.”
147
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“Our identities are always changing and growing, they’re not meant to be pinned down. Our histories are never all good or all bad, and running from the past is the surest way to be defined by it. That’s when it owns us. The key is bringing light to the darkness - developing awareness and understanding.”
148
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“I’m slowly learning how to straddle the tension that comes with understanding that I am tough and tender, brave and afraid, strong and struggling - all of these things, all of the time. I’m working on letting go of having to be one or the other and embracing the wholeness of wholeheartedness. The roles in my life - partner, mother, teacher, researcher, leader, entrepreneur - all require me to bring my whole self to the table. We can’t be ‘all in’ if only parts of us show up. If we’re not living, loving, parenting, or leading with our whole, integrated hearts, where doing it halfheartedly.”
149
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“I am large, I contain multitudes.”
150
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“A small, quiet, grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying, ‘My story matters because I matter.’ A movement where we can take to the streets with our messy, imperfect, wild, stretch-marked, wonderful, heartbreaking, grace-filled, and joyful lives. A movement fueled by the freedom that comes when we stop pretending that everything is okay when it isn’t. A call that rises up from our bellies when we find the courage to celebrate those intensely joyful moments even though we’ve convinced ourselves that savoring happiness is inviting disaster.”
151
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“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
152
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“If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”
153
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“I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I’d like to be and what I could be if . . . if only there were no other people in the world.”
154
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“I came from the end of bag, but no bag went over me. I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ring-winner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider.”
155
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“Then Bilbo fled [with the cup]. But the dragon did not wake – not yet – but shifted into other dreams of greed and violence, lying there in his stolen hall while the little hobbit toiled back up the long tunnel. His heart was beating and a more fevered shaking was in his legs than when he was going down, but still he clutched the cup, and his chief thought was: ‘I’ve done it! This will show them. ‘More like a grocer than a burglar’ indeed! Well, we’ll hear no more of that.‘”
156
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“I also learned that I am a child of God--and that trumps everything else.”
157
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“There isn’t any me. I’m you. Don’t make up a separate me.”
158
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“I step to the side so I stand in front of the mirror. I see muscles that I couldn’t see before in my arms, legs, and stomach. I pinch my side, where a layer of fat used to hint at curves to come. Nothing. Dauntless initiation has stolen whatever softness my body had. Is that good, or bad?”
159
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“Tori was the only one in the tattoo place, so I felt safe getting the symbol of Abnegation—a pair of hands, palms up as if to help someone stand, bounded by a circle—on my right shoulder. I know it was a risk, especially after all that’s happened. But that symbol is a part of my identity, and it felt important to me that I wear it on my skin.”
160
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“Let him do his spite. My services which I have done the signiory Shall out-tongue his complaints. ‘Tis yet to know (Which, when I know that boasting is an honor, I shall promulgate) I fetch my life and being From men of royal siege, and my demerits May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune As this that I have reached.”
161
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“The letter was the symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her, —so much power to do, and power to sympathize, —that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength.”
162
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You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it.
163
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I shall die here. Every last inch of me shall perish. Except one. An inch. It’s small and it’s fragile and it’s the only thing in the world worth having. we must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.
Valerie
character
identity
concept
164
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“Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be? What am I doing in an office, making a contemptuous, begging fool of myself, when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am!”
165
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We wanted to define her, to wrap her up as we did each other, but we could not seem to get past “weird” and “strange” and “goofy.” Her ways knocked us off balance.”
166
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“As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.”
167
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″There’s a place we all inhabit, but we don’t much think about it . . . We are untitled, untamed, natural, suspended between was and will be . . . We are, for a few brief moments, anything and everything we could be. And then . . . we become ourselves.″
168
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″She is one of us. Most decidedly. She is us more than we are us. She is, I think, who we really are. Or were.″
169
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“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state...Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.”
170
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“His face was close to mine. He must have seen my terror. “You needn’t be Ella if you don’t want to be,” he said softly.”
171
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“There is something of the dormouse in him still. Sometimes I wonder if she transforms people into animals, or whether she finds the beast inside us, and frees it.”
172
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″‘You’re Enna,’ said Ani. ‘That’s somebody.’ Enna smiled. ‘So’s Isi.’ Is she? thought Ani. Then I’d like to be her. I’d like to be somebody. ‘She is, you are,’ said Enna, as though she had heard Ani’s doubt.”
173
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“Her eyes lingered a moment on Selia, and she found herself thinking, She would be better at playing princess than I am. The thought stung. Ani wanted so badly to do it right, to be regal and clever and powerful. But too often her only truly happy moments were the bursts of freedom, stolen afternoons on her horse’s back, brief, breathtaking rides past the stables to where the gardens turned wild, her lungs stinging with the cold, her muscles trembling with the hard ride.”
174
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“I can’t believe it. My president is black like me. ”
175
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“Dear Non-American Black, when you make the choice to come to America, you become black. Stop arguing. Stop saying I’m Jamaican or I’m Ghanaian. America doesn’t care. So what if you weren’t ‘black’ in your country? You’re in America now.”
176
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“We all have souls of different ages.”
177
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“This book probably makes it seem like I hate myself and everything I do. But that’s not totally true. I mostly just hate every person I’ve ever been. I’m actually fine with myself right now.”
178
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“She had won, indeed, but her triumph was full of air. Her fleeting victory had left in its wake a vast, echoing space, because she had taken on, for too long, a pitch of voice and a way of being that was not hers.”
179
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“I will write my name in fire red, Antoinette Mason, née Cosway, Mount Calvary Convent, Spanish Town, Jamaica, 1839.”
180
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“Junior athletics is but one facet of the real gem: life’s endless war against the self you cannot live without.”
181
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“When I am dead – I say it that way because from the things I know, I do not expect to live long enough to read this book in its finished from – I want you to just watch and see if I’m not right when I say: that the white man, in his press, is going to identify me with ‘hate.‘”
182
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“You are what you love. No? You are, completely and only, what you would die for without, as you say, the thinking twice.”
183
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“We stared at each other, blood on my face, tears on hers. It was as if I saw myself. Like in a looking-glass.”
184
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“That other people can often see things about you that you yourself cannot see, even if those people are stupid.”
185
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“There is no looking-glass here and I don’t know what I am like now... The girl I saw was myself not quite myself. Long ago when I was a child and very lonely I tried to kiss her. But the glass was between us – hard, cold, and misted over with my breath. Now they have taken everything away. What am I doing in this place and who am I?”
186
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“I scarcely recognized her voice. No warmth, no sweetness. The doll had a doll’s voice, a breathless but curiously indifferent voice.”
187
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“Bertha is not my name. You are trying to make me into someone else, calling me by another name. I know, that’s obeah too.”
188
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“The mask of self-deception was no longer a mask for me, it was a part of me.”
189
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“She is not béké like you, but she is béké, and not like us either.”
190
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“I remember saying in a voice that was not like my own that it was too light.”
191
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“The fall from my horse had fortunately left no evil results; on the contrary it had changed my whole character for the better. From a lazy young man about town, I had become active, energetic, temperate, and above all--oh, above all else--ambitious.”
192
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“Anybody any good at what they do, that’s what they are, right?”
193
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“The mall was really busy, there were a lot of crowds there. They were buying all this stuff, like the inflatable houses for their kids, and the dog massagers, and the tooth extensions that people were wearing, the white ones which you slid over your real teeth and they made your mouth just like one big single tooth going all the way across.”
194
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“Computers were all outside the body. They carried them around outside of them, in their hands, like if you carried your lungs in a briefcase and opened it to breathe.”
195
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“I didn’t know how close she was to the person who had gone completely fugue at the party.”
196
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“We had a party at the end of the week over at Quendy’s, because her parents were off choking somewhere. That was when everyone was having those choking parties. I mean, it was completely midlife crisis.”
197
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“Violet was standing near the fountain and she had a real low shirt on, to show off her lesion, because the stars of Oh? Wow! Thing! Had started to get lesions, so now people were thinking better about lesions, and lesions even looked kind of cool.”
198
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“We went out to this place that Marty said served the best electrolyte chunkies, but it had closed a year before. It was dinnertime, so we had dinner at a J.P. Barnum’s Family Extravaganza, which was pretty good, and just like the one at home. We got some potato skins for appetizers.”
199
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“I’m not a bit changed--not really. I’m only just pruned down and branched out. The real me--back here--is just the same.”
200
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“You love your child for who the child is, not as an extension of your identity or as an example of your good parenting or even as a companion.”
201
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“There’s such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.”
202
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“But if you call me Anne, please call me Anne with an ‘e’.”
203
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″‘Don’t you see, Lev? You can save yourself. You can be anyone you want to be now.‘”
204
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“Thinking ahead has never been one of Connor’s strong points. If it was, he might not have gotten into the various situations that have plagued him over the past few years. Situations that got him labels like ‘troubled’ and ‘at risk,’ and finally this last label, ‘unwind.‘”
205
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″‘Ain’t no one gonna tell you what’s in your heart,’ he tells Lev. ‘You gotta find that out for yourself.‘”
206
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“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), ‘Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?’ chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”
207
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“This is what I was born for. It’s what I’ve lived my life for. I am chosen. I am blessed. And I am happy.”
208
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“He was never ‘Connor’ to them. He was always ‘that Lassiter boy.‘”
209
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“Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”
210
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“The mother is nineteen, but she doesn’t feel that old.”
211
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“Connor is a celebrity in his dormitory. He finds it absurd and surreal that the kids here see him as some sort of symbol, when all he did was survive.”
212
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“God is love, I said, but art’s the possibility of forms, and shadows are the source of identity.”
God
person
love
art
shadows
identity
concepts
213
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“Because we see things, always, through the filter of who we are.”
214
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“The hero journey is a symbol that binds, in the original sense of the word, two distant ideas, the spiritual quest of the ancients with the modern search for identity.”
215
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“She was caught between two allegiances...Herself. Her race.”
216
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“She isn’t stupid. She’s intelligent enough in a purely feminine way. Eighteenth-century France would have been a marvelous setting for her, or the old South if she hadn’t made the mistake of being born a Negro.”
217
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″...there’s no way of stopping it until you find the person responsible and sack them. If you don’t identify the culprit fairly soon, you’re going to have another year without showing a profit....”
218
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“How many of you would want to limit your reality, your entire reality, to the experience you now know? You do this when you imagine that your present self is your entire personality, or insist that your identity be maintained unchanged through an endless eternity.”
219
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“You prefer to identify with the part of you who watches television or cooks or works — the part you think knows what it is doing.”
220
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“Much of a child’s identity and his illusions of safety depend on feeling enmeshed. He develops a need to be a part of other people and to have them be a part of him. He can’t stand the thought of being cast out. This need for enmeshment carries right into adult relationships.”
221
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“The mind feasts on what it focuses on. What consumes my thinking will be the making or the breaking of my identity.”
222
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“Love her but leave her wild ”
223
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“It’s a very important name – I don’t expect there are many bears in the world called Paddington!”
224
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″‘Jacob have I loved …’ Suddenly my stomach flipped. Who was speaking? I couldn’t remember the passage. Was it Isaac, the father of the twins? No, even the Bible said that Isaac had favored Esau. Rebecca, the mother, perhaps? It was her conniving that helped Jacob steal the blessing from his brother. Rebecca—I had hated her from childhood, but somehow I knew that these were not her words...”
225
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“Some are not who they say they are, and some are not who they seem to be.”
226
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″‘For instance, I know that Angela doesn’t want to marry that sappy intern.’ ‘Ridiculous. You’re just jealous of your sister.’ ‘Maybe,’ Turtle had to admit, ‘but I am what I am. I don’t need a crutch to get attention.’ Oh, oh, she had gone too far.”

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