character

Ishmael Quotes

50 of the best book quotes from Ishmael
01
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It is not down on any map; true places never are.
Herman Melville
author
Moby Dick
Moby Dick; or, The Whale
books
Ishmael
character
exploring
concept
02
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All my means are sane, my motive and my object mad.
03
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All mortal greatness is but disease.
04
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Yes, as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.
05
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My body is but the lees of my better being.
06
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“Junior, Talloi, and I listened to rap music, trying to memorize the lyrics so that we could avoid thinking about the situation at hand.”
07
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“That night we were so hungry that we stole people’s food while they slept. It was the only way to get through the night.”
08
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″ ‘You left because you are against our cause as freedom fighters. Right?’ (...) What cause? I thought. I used the only freedom that I had then, my thought. ”
09
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“As I hopped up and down, hunched and raising my arms and feet to the music, I thought about being thrown in the ocean, about how difficult it would be to know that death was inevitable.”
10
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“I told him that we rapped. He didn’t know what rap music was, so I did my best to explain it to him. ‘It is similar to telling parables, but in the white man’s language,’ I concluded.”
11
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“I took off my old pants, which contained the rap cassettes. As I was putting on my new army shorts, a soldier took my old pants and threw them into a blazing fire that had been set to burn our old belongings. I ran toward the fire, but the cassettes had already started to melt. Tears formed in my eyes, and my lips shook as I turned away. ”
12
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“We lost a few adult soldiers on our side and my friends Musa and Josiah. Musa, the storyteller, was gone. There was no one around to tell us stories and make us laugh at times when we needed it. ”
13
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“This not only meant that you were scarred for life but that you could never escape from them, because escaping with the carving of the rebels’ initials was asking for death, as soldiers would kill you without any questions and militant civilians would do the same.”
14
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“Tears formed in my eyes and my forehead became warm, thinking about what Saidu had said. I tried not to believe that I too was dying, slowly, on my way to find safety.”
15
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“Why does one have to pay to leave his own country? I thought, but I couldn’t argue. I had to pay the money.”
16
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“That night for the first time in my life I realized that it is the physical presence of people and their spirits that gives a town life. With the absence of so many people, the town became scary, the night darker, and the silence unbearably agitating.”
17
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“This was one of the consequences of the civil war. People stopped trusting each other, and every stranger became an enemy. Even people who knew you became extremely careful about how they related or spoke to you.”
18
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“I joined the army really because of the loss of my family and starvation. I wanted to avenge the deaths of my family. I also had to get some food to survive, and the only way to do that was to be part of the army. It was not easy being a soldier, but we just had to do it.”
19
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“I feel as if there is nothing left for me to be alive for,” I said slowly. “I have no family, it is just me. No one will be able to tell stories about my childhood.”
20
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“What I have learned from my experiences is that revenge is not good. I joined the army to avenge the deaths of my family and to survive, but I’ve come to learn that if I am going to take revenge, in that process I will kill another person whose family will want revenge; then revenge and revenge and revenge will never come to an end…”
21
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“Our innocence had been replaced by fear and we had become monsters. There was nothing we could do about it.”
22
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“My childhood had gone by without my knowing, and it seemed as if my heart had frozen. I knew that day and night came and went because of the presence of the moon and the sun, but I had no idea whether it was a Sunday or a Friday.”
23
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“The lieutenant gave me the name. He said, “You don’t look dangerous, but you are, and you blend with nature like a green snake, deceptive and deadly when you want to be.” I was happy with my name, and on every raid I made sure I did as my name required.”
24
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Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian.
25
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As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.
26
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I try all things, I achieve what I can.
27
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Ignorance is the parent of fear.
28
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Ignorance is the parent of fear.
29
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For there is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men
30
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Heaven have mercy on us all - Presbyterians and Pagans alike - for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.
31
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Call me Ishmael.
32
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Human madness is oftentimes a cunning and most feline thing. When you think it fled, it may have but become transfigured into some still subtler form.
33
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It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he had a great secret in him.
34
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See how elastic our prejudices grow when once love comes to bend them.
35
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To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be who have tried it.
36
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There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath.
37
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God help thee, old man, thy thoughts have created a creature in thee; and he whose intense thinking thus makes him a Prometheus; a vulture feeds upon that heart forever; the vulture the very creature he creates.
38
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“I could look at nothing else in the world but his face, more hideous than any other in the animal kingdom because of its similarity to our own, yet in its way more noble than any Greek ideal of perfection.”
39
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“There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with people. Given a story to enact that puts them in accord with the world, they will live in accord with the world.”
40
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“He was like me--he just yearned for there to be someone in the world like Leo, someone with a secret knowledge and a wisdom beyond his own.”
41
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“Filmmakers understandably love footage of gore and battle, but any naturalist will tell you that the species are not in any sense at war with one another.”
Ishmael
character
nature
battles
harmony
films
concepts
42
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“In effect, you’re saying that if you knew how to live, then the flaw in man could be controlled. If you knew how you ought to live, you wouldn’t be forever screwing up the world.”
43
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“WITH GORILLA GONE, WILL THERE BE HOPE FOR MAN?”
44
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“We’re not destroying the world because we’re clumsy. We’re destroying the world because we are, in a very literal and deliberate way, at war with it.”
Ishmael
character
war
nature
world
destroying
concepts
45
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“The gods wrote in the world a law for all to follow, but it cannot apply to me because I’m their equal. Therefore I will live outside this law and grow without limit. To be limited is evil.”
Ishmael
character
gods
laws
limitless
concepts
46
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“You must change people’s minds. And you can’t just root out a harmful complex of ideas and leave a void behind; you have to give people something as meaningful as what they’ve lost--something that makes better sense than the old horror of Man Supreme, wiping out everything on this planet that doesn’t serve his needs directly or indirectly.”
47
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“It’s certainly not always unspoken. The religions of your culture aren’t reticent about it. Man is the end product of creation.”
48
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“Perhaps in fact the two things are actually one thing. Perhaps the flaw in man is exactly this: that he doesn’t know how he ought to live.”
49
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“But given a story to enact that puts them at odds with the world, as yours does, they will live at odds with the world. Given a story to enact in which they are the lords of the world, they will act like lords of the world.”
50
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“And, given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now.”

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