Friday, November 04, 2011

The Quote File: Character/s

Character – the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life – is the source from which self-respect springs. – Joan Didion

It is fortunate to be of high birth, but it is no less so to be of such character that people do not care to know whether you are or are not. – Jean de la Bruyere

Every man possesses three characters: that which he exhibits, that which he really has, and that which he believes he has. – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out. – Thomas Babington Macaulay

One can acquire everything in solitude except character. – Stendhal

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. – Kahlil Gibran

We are all of us more or less echoes, repeating involuntarily the virtues, the defects, the movements, and the characters of those among whom we live. – Joseph Joubert

Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle. – Mahatma Gandhi

Another flaw in the human character is that everyone wants to build, but no one wants to do maintenance. – Kurt Vonnegut

A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers. – Mahatma Gandhi

In words are seen the state of mind and character and disposition of the speaker. – Plutarch

Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him. – Mel Brooks

The best morals kids get from any book is just the capacity to empathize with other people, to care about the characters and their feelings. So you don't have to write a preachy book to do that. You just have to make it a fun book with characters they care about, and they will become better people as a result. – Louis Sachar

Our schools are filled with kids who have been treated badly all their lives. They don't tell anyone, because there is shame in being treated badly. Many – girls and boys – have been sexually mistreated. Still others struggle in fear with sexual identity. They respond with eating disorders, cutting, suicidal thought or action. I can't tell you how many letters I've received from kids who found a friend in one of my books, a character who speaks to them. And if I get those letters, think of the letters Walter Dean Myers, or Lois Lowry, or Judy Blume get, thanking us for letting them know, through literature, that they are not alone. In light of all that, there's really only one thing to say to the censors. Shut up. – Chris Crutcher

Stories give us access to otherwise hidden, censored, unsayable thoughts and feelings now shiftily disclosed in the guise of plot and character... The hungers of our spirits are fed by sharing in the glimpsed interiority of others. – Ron Hansen

The writer by nature of his profession is a dreamer and a conscious dreamer. He must imagine, and imagination takes humility, love and great courage. How can you create a character without love and the struggle that goes with love? – Carson McCullers

Literature doesn't have a country. Shakespeare is an African writer.... The characters of Turgenev are ghetto dwellers. Dickens's characters are Nigerians.... Literature may come from a specific place, but it always lives in its own unique kingdom. – Ben Okri

To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battle and provinces, but order and tranquility in our conduct. Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately. – Michel de Montaigne


  1. It is our choices... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

  2. what a great post! thank you for sharing! appreciate it!

  3. So interesting post. Thanks for it!

  4. Heh heh I love the comments by term paper, essay, and custom research papers.

    Great quotes, but I clicked over from Google reader to take issue with Chris Crutcher telling censors to shut up. I think it would be better to say to them, "Speak up. Don't try to shut me up, speak up yourself. If you have an argument to make, make it, and let the readers decide between us, and may the best man win."