The Heart of the Matter Quotes

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The Heart of the Matter The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
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The Heart of the Matter Quotes (showing 1-30 of 42)
“Point me out the happy man and I will point you out either extreme egotism, selfishness, evil -- or else an absolute ignorance.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“Of two hearts one is always warm and one is always cold: the cold heart is more precious than diamonds: the warm heart has no value and is thrown away.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“It was like having a box of chocolates shut in the bedroom drawer. Until the box was empty it occupied the mind too much.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“Friendship is something in the soul. It is a thing one feels. It is not a return for something.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“We'd forgive most things if we knew the facts.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“There was a tacit understanding between them that 'liquor helped'; growing more miserable with every glass one hoped for the moment of relief.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“He gave her a bright fake smile; so much of life was a putting off of unhappiness for another time. Nothing was ever lost by delay. He had a dim idea that perhaps if one delayed long enough, things were taken out of one's hands altogether by death.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“In our hearts there is a ruthless dictator, ready to contemplate the misery of a thousand strangers if it will ensure the happiness of the few we love.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“Except for the sound of the rain, on the road, on the roofs, on the umbrella, there was absolute silence: only the dying moan of the sirens continued for a moment or two to vibrate within the ear. It seemed to Scobie later that this was the ultimate border he had reached in happiness: being in darkness, alone, with the rain falling, without love or pity.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“We are all resigned to death: it's life we aren't resigned to.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“When he was young, he had thought love had something to do with understanding, but with age he knew that no human being understood another. Love was the wish to understand, and presently with constant failure the wish died, and love died too perhaps or changed into this painful affection, loyalty, pity…”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“A single feat of daring can alter the whole conception of what is possible.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“People talk about the courage of condemned men walking to the place of execution: sometimes it needs as much courage to walk with any kind of bearing towards another person's habitual misery.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“You must promise me. You can't desire the end without desiring the means.'

Ah, but one can, he thought, one can: one can desire the peace of victory without desiring the ravaged towns.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“Beauty is like success: we can't love it for long.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“They had been corrupted by money, and he had been corrupted by sentiment. Sentiment was the more dangerous, because you couldn’t name its price. A man open to bribes was to be relied upon below a certain figure, but sentiment might uncoil in the heart at a name, a photograph, even a smell remembered.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“...every monologue sooner or later becomes a discussion.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“It seemed to Scobie that life was immeasurably long. Couldn’t the test of man have been carried out in fewer years? Couldn’t we have committed our first major sin at seven, have ruined ourselves for love or hate at ten, have clutched at redemption on a fifteen-year-old deathbed?”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“He couldn't tell that this was one of those occasions a man never forgets: a small cicatrice had been made on the memory, a wound that would ache whenever certain things combined - the taste of gin at mid-day, the smell of flowers under a balcony, the clang of corrugated iron, an ugly bird flopping from perch to perch.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“He felt the loyalty we feel to unhappiness - the sense that is where we really belong.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“Men can become twins with age. The past was their common womb; the six months of rain and the six months of sun was the period of their common gestation. They needed only a few words and a few gestures to convey their meaning. They had graduated through the same fevers, they were moved by the same love and contempt.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“Nobody here could ever talk about a heaven on earth. Heaven remained rigidly in its proper place on the other side of death, and on this side flourished the injustices, the cruelties, the meanness that elsewhere people so cleverly hushed up. Here you could love human beings nearly as God loved them, knowing the worst: you didn’t love a pose, a pretty dress, a sentiment artfully assumed.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“What I've done is far worse than murder - that's an act, a blow, a stab, a shot: it's over and done, but I'm carrying my corruption around with me. It's the coating of my stomach.' He threw her wrists aside like seeds towards the stony floor. 'Never pretend I haven't shown my love.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“It seemed after all that one never really missed a thing. To be a human being one had to drink the cup. If one were lucky on one day, or cowardly on another, it was presented on a third occasion.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“If one knew, he wondered, the facts,
would one have to pity even the planets? If one reached what they called the heart of the matter?”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“All right. All right.' He thought: am I taking to drink too? It seemed to him that he had no shape left, nothing you could touch and say: this is Scobie.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“It's not really much good tearing out a page because you can see the place where it's been torn. [...] You can pull a stamp out,' she said with terrible youthful clarity, 'and you don't know that it's ever been there.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“What are others worth that they have the nerve to sneer at any human being?”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
“One forgets the dead quite quickly; one doesn't wonder about the dead-what is he doing now, who is he with?”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
tags: death
“From eight-thirty in the morning until eleven he dealt with a case of petty larceny; there were six witnesses to examine, and he didn’t believe a word that any of them said. In European cases there are words one believes and words one distrusts: it is possible to draw a speculative line between the truth and the lies; at least the cui bono principle to some extent operates, and it is usually safe to assume, if the accusation is theft and there is no question of insurance, that something has at least been stolen. But here one could make no such assumption; one could draw no lines. He had known police officers who nerves broke down in the effort to separate a single grain of incontestable truth; they ended, some of them, by striking a witness, they were pilloried in the local Creole papers and were invalided home or transferred. It woke in some men a virulent hatred of a black skin, but Scobie had long ago, during his fifteen years, passed through the dangerous stages; now lost in the tangle of lies he felt an extraordinary affection for these people who paralysed an alien form of justice by so simple a method.”
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter

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