Thornton Wilder Quotes

40 of the best book quotes from Thornton Wilder
“And, like you say, being gone all the time…in other places and meeting other people…Gosh, if anything like that can happen I don’t want to go away. I guess new people aren’t any better than old ones. I’ll bet they almost never are, Emily…I feel that you’re as good a friend as I’ve got. I don’t need to go and meet the people in other towns.”
“Every child born into the world is nature’s attempt to make a perfect human being.”
“Almost everybody in the world gets married,—you know what I mean? In our town there aren’t hardly any exceptions. Most everybody in the world climbs into their graves married.”
“And particularly the days when you were first in love; when you were like a person sleepwalking, and you didn’t quite see the street you were in, and didn’t quite hear everything that was said to you. You’re just a little bit crazy. Will you remember that, please?”
“I’m celebrating because I’ve got a friend who tells me all the things that ought to be told me.”
“Men aren’t naturally good; but girls are.”
“Only it seems to me that once in your life before you die you ought to see a country where they don’t talk in English and don’t even want to.”
“I was the scaredest young fella in the State of New Hampshire. I thought I’d make a mistake for sure. And when I saw you comin’ down that aisle I thought you were the prettiest girl I’d ever seen, but the only trouble was that I’d never seen you before. There I was in the Congregation Church marryin’ a total stranger.”
“No…I should have listened to you. That’s all human beings are! Just blind people.”
“Oh, Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me.”
“Ma, I don’t want to grow old. Why’s everybody pushing me so?”
“People are meant to go through life two by two. ’Tain’t natural to be lonesome.”
“I think that once you’ve found a person that you’re very fond of . . . I mean a person who’s fond of you, too, and likes you enough to be interested in your character. . . . Well, I think that’s just as important as college is, and even more so.”
“We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings.”
“Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute?”
“And let that be a lesson to you, George, never to ask advice on personal matters.”
“They’ll have a lot of troubles, I suppose, but that’s none of our business. Everybody has a right to their own troubles.”
“It’s like what one of those Middle West poets said: You’ve got to love life to have life, and you’ve got to have life to love life…It’s what they call a vicious circle.”
“You know how it is: you’re twenty-one or twenty-two and you make some decisions; then whisssh! you’re seventy: you’ve been a lawyer for fifty years, and that white-haired lady at your side has eaten over fifty thousand meals with you.”
“It was your mother chopping wood. There you see your mother – getting up early; cooking meals all day long; washing and ironing; – and still she has to go out in the back yard and chop wood. I suppose she just got tired of asking you. She just gave up and decided it was easier to do it herself. And you eat her meals, and put on the clothes she keeps nice for you, and you run off and play baseball . . .”
″ Men of his type so dread all deliberation that they glory in the practice of the instantaneous decision. They think they are saving themselves from irresolution; in reality they are sparing themselves the contemplation of all the consequences of their acts.”
“You swore you loved me, and laughed and warned me that you would not love me forever. I did not hear you. You were speaking in a language I did not understand.”
“Cesar is not a philosophical man. His life has been one long flight from reflection. At least he is clever enough not to expose the poverty of his general ideas; he never permits the conversation to move toward philosophical principles. ”
“They can pretend that every act was forced on them under emergency and that every decision was mothered by necessity”
“They had been brought up to think that the domestic virtues were self-evident and universal; they had been starved of the knowledge that most attracts the young mind: that the crown of life is the exercise of choice”
“Leadership is for those who love the public good and are endowed and trained to administer it.”
“There is no need for me to curse you -the murderer survives the victim only to learn that it was himself that he longed to be rid of. Hatred is self-hatred.”
“Imprisonment of the body is bitter; imprisonment of the mind is worse”
“Let us at least say of religion that it means that every part of the body is infused with mind, not that the mind is overwhelmed and drowned in body. For the principal attribute of the Gods, without or within us, is mind.”
“And oh, Claudia, Claudilla, ask me to do something -something that I can do. Do not ask me to forget you or to be indifferent to you. ”
“Moreover, in this way they can rejoice in the illusion of never having made a mistake; for act follows so swiftly on act that it is impossible to reconstruct the past and say that an alternative decision would have been better. ”
“Never, never, I can conceive of a love which is able to foresee its own termination. Love is its own eternity. Love is in every moment of its being: all time. It is the only glimpse we are permitted of what eternity is. So I did not hear you. The words were nonsense.”
“The mind of Caesar. It is the reverse of most men’s. It rejoices in committing itself. To us arrive each day a score of challenges; we must say yes or no to decisions that will set off chains of consequences. ”
“Some of us deliberate; some of us refuse the decision, which is itself a decision; some of us leap giddily into the decision, setting our jaws and closing our eyes, which is the sort of decision of despair. ”
“Caesar embraces decision. It is as though he felt his mind to be operating only when it is interlocking itself with significant consequences. Caesar shrinks from no responsibility. He heaps more and more upon his shoulders.”
“Love as education is one of the great powers of the world, but it hangs in a delicate suspension; it achieves its harmony as seldom as does love by the senses. Frustrated, it creates even greater havoc, for like all love it is a madness.”
“It is only dogs that never bite their masters.”
“There is not a single untruth, no -but after ten lines Truth shrieks, she runs distraught and disheveled through her temple’s corridors; she does not know herself. ‘I can endure lies,’ she cries. ‘I cannot survive this stifling verisimilitude”
“I have inherited this burden of superstition and nonsense. I govern innumerable men but must acknowledge that I am governed by birds and thunderclaps”
“The central movement of the mind is the desire for unrestricted liberty and (...) this movement is invariably accompanied by its opposite, a dread of the consequences of liberty.”

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