(Notable Quotables is a meme originally brought to you by the Bewitched Bookworms. Every Monday you’re invited to share a favorite quote or two from the books you’ve been reading.)
Stories are about characters: heroes, villains, and the entire varied range in between. Perfect characters ruin books, and flawed ones make stories worth reading.
Take for example, one of literature’s arguably most flawed characters, Scarlet O’Hara. Whether or not you like the book, would Gone with the Wind be the book it is without Scarlet’s temper and boldness?:
“The green eyes in the carefully sweet face were turbulent, willful, lusty with life, distinctly at variance with her decorous demeanor. Her manners had been imposed upon her by the gentle admonitions of her mother and the sterner discipline of her mammy; her eyes were her own.”
Stories are also about immortality. As long as a story is told, its author is never forgotten. Says Anna Quindlen:
“The writers of books do not truly die; their characters, even the ones who throw themselves in front of trains or are killed in battle, come back to life over and over again. Books are the means to immortality…over and over again Heathcliff wanders the moor searching for his Cathy. Over and over again Ahab fights the whale. Through them all we experience other times, other places, other lives. We manage to become much more than our own selves. The only dead are those who grow sere and shriveled within, unable to step outside their own lives and into the lives of others. Ignorance is death. A closed mind is a catafalque.”
When I first read this quote, I had no idea what “catafalque” meant. Knowing that word makes this quote even more powerful.
What are you reading this week?