Quotes About Middle Class

Quotes tagged as "middle-class" (showing 1-30 of 44)
E.M. Forster
“They had never struggled, and only a struggle twists sentimentality and lust together into love.”
E.M. Forster, Maurice

George Orwell
“He wondered about the people in houses like those. They would be, for example, small clerks, shop-assistants, commercial travellers, insurance touts, tram conductors. Did they know that they were only puppets dancing when money pulled the strings? You bet they didn’t. And if they did, what would they care? They were too busy being born, being married, begetting, working, dying. It mightn’t be a bad thing, if you could manage it, to feel yourself one of them, one of the ruck of men. Our civilization is founded on greed and fear, but in the lives of common men the greed and fear are mysteriously transmuted into something nobler. The lower-middle-class people in there, behind their lace curtains, with their children and their scraps of furniture and their aspidistras — they lived by the money-code, sure enough, and yet they contrived to keep their decency. The money-code as they interpreted it was not merely cynical and hoggish. They had their standards, their inviolable points of honour. They ‘kept themselves respectable’— kept the aspidistra flying. Besides, they were alive. They were bound up in the bundle of life. They begot children, which is what the saints and the soul-savers never by any chance do.

The aspidistra is the tree of life, he thought suddenly.”
George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying

“The rich and the poor truly are from different realms: one has adapted to become an expert in material forfeit; the other has forfeited all they are to material, and thus is enslaved, by it.”
Justin K. McFarlane Beau

Barbara Ehrenreich
“This advice comes as a surprise: job searching is not joblessness; it is a job in itself and should be structured to resemble one, right down to the more regrettable features of employment, like having to follow orders--orders which are in this case self-generated.”
Barbara Ehrenreich, Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream

“The vast majority of Americans, at all coordinates of the economic spectrum, consider themselves middle class; this is a deeply ingrained, distinctly American cognitive dissonance.”
Ellen Cushing

W. Somerset Maugham
“... his experience of life in an office had made him determine never to have anything more to do with one ...”
W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

Tim Kreider
“Watching middle-class conservatives vote for politicians who've proudly pledged to screw them and their children over fills me with the same exasperated contempt I feel for rabbits who zigzag wildly back and forth in front of my tires instead of just getting off the goddamn road.”
Tim Kreider, We Learn Nothing

David Brin
“If facts are inconvenient, well, damn those who live and work with facts.”
David Brin

Hermann Hesse
“When I have neither pleasure nor pain and have been breathing for a while the lukewarm insipid air of these so called good and tolerable days, I feel so bad in my childish soul that I smash my moldering lyre of thanksgiving in the face of the slumbering god of contentment and would rather feel tle very devil burn in me than this warmth of a well-heated room. A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me, a rage against this toneless, flat, normal and sterile life. I have a mad impulse to smash something, a warehouse, perhaps, or a cathedral, or myself, to commit outrages, to pull off the wigs of a few revered idols, to provide a few rebellious schoolboys with the longed-for ticket to Hamburg, or to stand one or two representatives of the established order on their heads. For what I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity.”
Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

Mokokoma Mokhonoana
“The middle class were invented to give the poor hope; the poor, to make the rich feel special; the rich, to humble the middle class.”
Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Saul Bellow
“As the wicked flee when none pursueth, so does the middle-class wrestle when none contendeth. They cried out for freedom, it came down on them in a flood. Nothing remains but a few floating timbers of psychotherapy.”
Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift

“Illiteracy is the innability of a person to learn. It is not all about the innability to read or write as the middle class regards it.”
Paul Bamikole

“It certainly inhibits a man's desire to change companies for a better job. Thus, it is at least a minor pressure against free-spirited enterprise. All the benefits exert pressure, too. There is nothing sinister about them, since admittedly they are for your own material comfort -- and isn't that supposed to be one of the goals of mankind? What happens is that, as the years go by, the temptation to strike out on your own or take another job becomes less and less. Gradually you become accustomed to the Utopian drift. Soon another inhibition may make you even more amenable. If you have been in easy circumstances for a number of years, you feel that you are out of shape. Even in younger men the hard muscle of ambition tends to go slack, and you hesitate to take a chance in the jungle again.”
Alan Harrington

“How remote we were too from the crazy musicians who arrived on a blustery fall day with the idea that, since this was a financial center, there would be a rain of coins from the tall buildings in response to their trumpet, guitar, and bass fiddle. The wind swirled their jazz among the canyons. I saw that no one was paying them the slightest attention. Feeling guilty, I threw them a quarter, but they didn't see it. They danced and made jazz in the cold, while upstairs we went on with our work, and they didn't exist, and it was nobody's fault.”
Alan Harrington

Christopher Fowler
“I'm not working class anymore,' he said. 'I'm lower-middle. I use three types of oil in my kitchen. Admittedly one of them is WD-40, but that counts, doesn't it?”
Christopher Fowler

“There must always be a fringe of the experimental in literature--poems bizarre in form and curious in content, stories that overreach for what has not hitherto been put in story form, criticism that mingles a search for new truth with bravado. We should neither scoff at this trial margin nor take it too seriously. Without it, literature becomes inert and complacent. But the everyday person's reading is not, ought not to be, in the margin. He asks for a less experimental diet, and his choice is sound. If authors and publishers would give him more heed they would do wisely. They are afraid of the swarming populace who clamor for vulgar sensation (and will pay only what it is worth), and they are afraid of petulant literati who insist upon sophisticated sensation (and desire complimentary copies). The stout middle class, as in politics and industry, has far less influence than its good sense and its good taste and its ready purse deserve.”
Henry Seidel Canby, Saturday Papers: Essays on Literature from The Literary Review

Jennifer Worth
“She approached them all without a trace of sentimentality or condescension. The older Docklanders were accustomed to meeting middle-class do-gooders, who deigned to act graciously to inferiors. The Cockneys despised these people, used them for what they could get, and made fun of them behind their backs, but Sister Evangelina had no patronising airs and graces.”
Jennifer Worth

J.G. Ballard
“You're a domestic man, David. You feel hundreds of small affections all the time. They haunt every friendly pillow and comfortable chair like household gods. Together they add up to a great love, big enough to ignore this silly man who's hanging around your wife's skirts.”
J.G. Ballard, Millennium People

Paul Beatty
“Bemoan being lower-middle-class and colored in a police state that protects only rich white people and movie stars of all races, though I can’t think of any Asian-American ones.”
Paul Beatty, The Sellout

George Orwell
“His eye fell upon the aspidistra. Two years he had inhabited this vile room; two mortal years in which nothing had been accomplished.”
George Orwell

Marcel Proust
“... she exclaimed, the innate respectability of the middle-class housewife rising impulsively to the surface through the acquired dilettantism of the 'light woman.'
People who enjoyed 'picking-up' things, who admired poetry, despised sordid calculations of profit and loss, and nourished ideals of honour and love, she placed in a class by themselves, superior to the rest of humanity.”
Marcel Proust, Swann's Way

Charles Murray
“The average Harvard freshman in 1952 would have placed in the bottom 10 percent of the incoming class by 1960.”
Charles Murray, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010

Gary   Hopkins
“Rich or poor, money rules with an iron fist.”
Gary Hopkins

“It’s time someone said it, average living (read middle-class) is not good enough”
Mark Maish

Munir Moon
“Working income is taxed at a higher rate than the non-working income”
Munir Moon, The Beltway Beast: Stealing from Future Generations and Destroying the Middle Class

Jincy Willett
“Hester Lipp had written Where the Sidewalk Starts, an inexplicably acclaimed book of memoir, recounting — in severe language and strange, striking imagery — Lipp's childhood and adolescence on a leafy suburban street in Burlington. Her house was large and well-kept, her schooling uneventful, her family — the members of which she described in scrupulous detail — uniformly decent and supportive. Sidewalk was blurbed as a devastatingly honest account of what it meant to grow up middle class in America. Amy, who forced herself to read the whole thing, thought the book devastatingly unnecessary. The New York Times had assigned it to her for a review, and she stomped on it with both feet. Amy's review of Sidewalk was the only mean-spirited review she ever wrote.

She had allowed herself to do this, not because she was tired of memoirs, baffled by their popularity, resentful that somehow, in the past twenty years, fiction had taken a backseat to them, so that in order to sell clever, thoroughly imagined novels, writers had been browbeaten by their agents into marketing them as fact. All this annoyed her, but then Amy was annoyed by just about everything. She beat up on Hester Lipp because the woman could write up a storm and yet squandered her powers on the minutiae of a beige conflict-free life. In her review, Amy had begun by praising what there was to praise about Hester's sharp sentences and word-painting talents and then slipped, in three paragraphs, into a full-scale rant about the tyranny of fact and the great advantages, to both writer and reader, of making things up. She ended by saying that reading Where the Sidewalk Starts was like "being frog-marched through your own backyard.”
Jincy Willett, Amy Falls Down

Amit Kalantri
“In general, poor is polite and rich is rude.”
Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words

George L. Mosse
“It was a cultural revolution, and was not directed at instituting economic changes. He could thus appeal to old prejudices without threatening the existing economic system. This appealed, above all, to white-collar workers and the small entrepreneurs, as some of the statistics presented in this book will demonstrate. It was their kind of revolution: the ideology would give them a new status, free them from isolation in the industrial society, and give them a purpose in life. But it would not threaten any of their vested interests; indeed it would reinforce their bourgeois predilections toward family...and restore the 'good old values' which had been so sadly dismantled by modernity.”
George L. Mosse, Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich

“Silence descended on the house. [....] Amma must have sensed that this was the sort of silence that, left unchallenged, could consume the family from within.”
Vivek Shanbhag, Ghachar Ghochar

“When you have no choice, you have no discontent either.”
Vivek Shanbhag, Ghachar Ghochar

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