I felt that I was not, never had been and never would be a living part of this overpoweringly solid and deeply meaningful world around me.
Everyone has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him. It is the moment when his emotions achieve their most powerful sway over him, and afterward when you say to this person "the world today" or "life" or "reality" he will assume that you mean this moment, even if it is fifty years past. The world, through his unleashed emotions, imprinted itself upon him, and he carries the stamp of that passing moment forever.
What I mean is, I love winter, and when you really love something, then it loves you back, in whatever way it has to love.
I began to know that each morning reasserted the problems of night before, that sleep suspended all but changed nothing, that you couldn’t make yourself over between dawn and dusk.
So the more things remained the same, the more they changed after all. Nothing endures. Not love, not a tree, not even a death by violence.
But I was used to finding something deadly in things that attracted me; there was always something deadly lurking in anything I wanted, anything I loved.
This was the tree, and it seemed to me standing there to resemble those men, the giants of your childhood, whom you encounter years later and find that they are not merely smaller in relation to your growth, but they are absolutely smaller, shrunken by age. In this double demotion the old giants have become pygmies while you were looking the other way.
But something held me back. Perhaps I was stopped by that level of feeling, deeper than thought, which contains the truth.
You have to do what you think is the right thing, but just make sure it’s the right thing in the long run, and not just for the moment.
Looking back now across fifteen years I could see with great clarity the fear I had lived in, which must mean that in the interval I had succeeded in a very important undertaking: I must have made my escape from it.
It was hard to remember in the heavy and sensual clarity of these mornings; I forgot whom I hated and who hated me. I wanted to break out crying from stabs of hopeless joy, or intolerable promise, or because these mornings were too full of beauty for me, because I knew of too much hate to be contained in a world like this.
Gene, on the desire to be Finny: "I lost part of myself to him then, and a soaring sense of freedom revealed that this must have been my purpose from the first: to become a part of Phineas.
I never killed anybody and I never developed an intense level of hatred for the enemy. Because my war ended before I ever put on a uniform; I was on active duty all my time at school; I killed my enemy there.
As I said, this was my sarcastic summer. It was only long after that I recognized sarcasm as the protest of people who are weak.
I knew that part of friendship consisted in accepting a friend’s shortcomings, which sometimes included his parents.
Never say you are five feet nine when you are five feet eight and a half" was the first one I encountered. Another was, "Always say some prayers at night because it might turn out that there is a God.
So the more things remain the same, the more they change after all—plus c'est la même chose, plus ça change. Nothing endures, not a tree, not love, not even a death by violence.
Stranded in this mill town railroad yard while the whole world was converging elsewhere, we seemed to be nothing but children playing among heroic men.
...I alone was a dream, a figment which had never really touched anything. I felt that I was not, never had been and never would be a living part of this overpoweringly solid and deeply meaningful world around me.
Then for no reason at all, I felt magnificent. It was as though my body until that instant had simply been lazy as though the aches and exhaustion were all imagined, created from nothing in order to keep me from truly exerting myself. Now my body seemed at last to say, "Well, if you must have it, here!" and an accession of strength came flooding through me. Buoyed up, I forgot my usual feeling of routine self-pity when working out, I lost myself, oppressed mind along with aching body; all entanglements were shed, I broke into the clear.
What I mean is, I love winter, and when you really love something, then it loves you back, in whatever way it has to love." I didn't think that this was true, my seventeen years of experience had shown this to be much more false than true, but it was like every other thought and belief of Finny's: it should have been true.
You have to do what you think is the right thing, but just make sure it's the right thing in the long run, and not just for the moment. Your war memories will be with you forever, you'll be asked about them thousands of times after the war is over.
But I was used to finding something deadly in things that attracted me; there was always something deadly lurking in anything I wanted, anything I loved. And if it wasn't there, as for example with Phineas, then I put it there myself.
He had never been jealous of me for a second. Now I knew that there never was and never could have been any rivalry between us. I was not of the same quality as he.
Finny never permitted himself to realize that when you won they lost. That would have destroyed the perfect beauty which was sport.
What deceived me was my own happiness; for peace is indivisible, and the surrounding world confusion found no reflection inside me.
I believe you. It’s okay because I understand and I believe you. You’ve already shown me and I believe you.