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Carson McCullers quotes (showing 1-30 of 146)

“Next to music, beer was best.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“First of all, love is a joint experience between two persons — but the fact that it is a joint experience does not mean that it is a similar experience to the two people involved. There are the lover and the beloved, but these two come from different countries. Often the beloved is only a stimulus for all the stored-up love which had lain quiet within the lover for a long time hitherto. And somehow every lover knows this. He feels in his soul that his love is a solitary thing. He comes to know a new, strange loneliness and it is this knowledge which makes him suffer. So there is only one thing for the lover to do. He must house his love within himself as best he can; he must create for himself a whole new inward world — a world intense and strange, complete in himself. Let it be added here that this lover about whom we speak need not necessarily be a young man saving for a wedding ring — this lover can be man, woman, child, or indeed any human creature on this earth.

Now, the beloved can also be of any description. The most outlandish people can be the stimulus for love. A man may be a doddering great-grandfather and still love only a strange girl he saw in the streets of Cheehaw one afternoon two decades past. The preacher may love a fallen woman. The beloved may be treacherous, greasy-headed, and given to evil habits. Yes, and the lover may see this as clearly as anyone else — but that does not affect the evolution of his love one whit. A most mediocre person can be the object of a love which is wild, extravagant, and beautiful as the poison lilies of the swamp. A good man may be the stimulus for a love both violent and debased, or a jabbering madman may bring about in the soul of someone a tender and simple idyll. Therefore, the value and quality of any love is determined solely by the lover himself.

It is for this reason that most of us would rather love than be loved. Almost everyone wants to be the lover. And the curt truth is that, in a deep secret way, the state of being beloved is intolerable to many. The beloved fears and hates the lover, and with the best of reasons. For the lover is forever trying to strip bare his beloved. The lover craves any possible relation with the beloved, even if this experience can cause him only pain.”
Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories
“We are homesick most for the places we have never known.”
Carson McCullers
“Maybe when people longed for a thing that bad the longing made them trust in anything that might give it to them.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“the way i need you is a loneliness i cannot bear.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.”
Carson McCullers
“The Heart is a lonely hunter with only one desire! To find some lasting comfort in the arms of anothers fire...driven by a desperate hunger to the arms of a neon light, the heart is a lonely hunter when there's no sign of love in sight!”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“The closest thing to being cared for is to care for someone else.”
Carson McCullers, The Square Root of Wonderful
“She wished there was some place where she could go to hum it out loud. Some kind of music was too private to sing in a house cram fall of people. It was funny, too, how lonesome a person could be in a crowded house.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“And the curt truth is that, in a deep secret way, the state of being loved is intolerable to many.”
Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories
“I want - I want - I want - was all that she could think about - but just what this real want was she did not know.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“It is a curious emotion, this certain homesickness I have in mind. With Americans, it is a national trait, as native to us as the roller-coaster or the jukebox. It is no simple longing for the home town or country of our birth. The emotion is Janus-faced: we are torn between a nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.”
Carson McCullers
“But the hearts of small children are delicate organs. A cruel beginning in this world can twist them into curious shapes. The heart of a hurt child can shrink so that forever afterward it is hard and pitted as the seed of a peach. Or again, the heart of such a child may fester and swell until it is a misery to carry within the body, easily chafed and hurt by the most ordinary things.”
Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories
“The trouble with me is that for a long time I have just been an I person. All people belong to a We except me. Not to belong to a We makes you too lonesome.”
Carson McCullers, The Member of the Wedding
“I think we look for the differences in people because it makes us less lonely.”
Carson McCullers
“I'm not explaining this right. What happened was this. There were these beautiful feelings and loose little pleasures inside me. And this woman was something like an assembly line for my soul. I run these little pieces of myself through her and I come out complete. Now do you follow me?”
Carson McCullers, A Tree, a Rock, a Cloud
“In his face there came to be a brooding peace that is seen most often in the faces of the very sorrowful or the very wise. But still he wandered through the streets of the town, always silent and alone.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“When a person knows and can't
make the others understand, what does he do?”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are gone, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.”
Carson McCullers
“All we can do is go around telling the truth.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“We wander, question. But the answer waits in each separate heart - the answer of our own identity and the way by which we can master loneliness and feel that at last we belong.”
Carson McCullers, The Mortgaged Heart: Selected Writings
“I´m a stranger in a strange land.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“She was afraid of these things that made her suddenly wonder who she was, and what she was going to be in the world, and why she was standing at that minute, seeing a light, or listening, or staring up into the sky: alone.”
Carson McCullers, The Member of the Wedding
“I do not have any home. So why should I be homesick?”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“The people dreamed and fought and slept as much as ever. And by habit they shortened their thoughts so that they would not wander out into the darkness beyond tomorrow.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“ But look what the Church has done to Jesus during the last two thousand years. What they have made of Him. How they have turned every word He spoke for their own vile ends. Jesus would be framed and in jail if he was living today.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“This was her, Mick Kelly, walking in the daytime and by herself at night. In the hot sun and in the dark with all the plans and feelings. This music was her—the real plain her...This music did not take a long time or a short time. It did not have anything to do with time going by at all. She sat with her arms around her legs, biting her salty knee very hard. The whole world was this symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen... Now that it was over there was only her heart beating like a rabbit and this terrible hurt.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“Love is the bridge that leads from the I sense to the We, and there is a paradox about personal love. Love of another individual opens a new relation between the personality and the world. The lover responds in a new way to nature and may even write poetry. Love is affirmation; it motivates the yes responses and the sense of wider communication. Love casts out fear, and in the security of this togetherness we find contentment, courage. We no longer fear the age-old haunting questions: "Who am I?" "Why am I?" "Where am I going?" - and having cast out fear, we can be honest and charitable.”
Carson McCullers, The Mortgaged Heart: Selected Writings
tags: love

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