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Deeper Than Swords - Words of Rebellion From My Favorite Authors

Jonathan Dagher By Jonathan Dagher Published on March 28, 2017

When things around the world take a turn for the ugly, and rebellion feels futile, there's a lot to learn from some of the world bravest authors:

A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway


“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.

But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” 


V for Vendetta - Alan Moore

"I remember how the meaning of words began to change [...] I remember how different became dangerous. I still don't understand it, why they hate us so much [...] I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An Inch, it is small and it is fragile, but it is the only thing the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us." 


To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee


“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."

Giovanni's Room - James Baldwin

“People who remember court madness through pain, the pain of the perpetually recurring death of their innocence; people who forget court another kind of madness, the madness of the denial of pain and the hatred of innocence; and the world is mostly divided between madmen who remember and madmen who forget. Heroes are rare.”

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

"I don't know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies, and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script. It's a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters."

Helter Skelter - Vincent Bugliosi & Curt Gentry

“Since we place so much value on human life, why do we glorify, in a perverse sort of way, the extinguishment of life? The answer to that question, whatever it is, is at least a partial answer to why people continue to be fascinated by Hitler, Jack the Ripper—Manson.”

Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace

"Attachments are of great seriousness. Choose your attachments carefully. Choose your temple of fanaticism with great care. What you wish to sing of as tragic love is an attachment not carefully chosen. Die for one person? This is a craziness. Persons change, leave, die, become ill. They leave, lie, go mad, have sickness, betray you, die. Your nation outlives you. A cause outlives you.”


A supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again - David Foster Wallace 


“How can even the idea of rebellion against corporate culture stay meaningful when Chrysler Inc. advertises trucks by invoking “The Dodge Rebellion”? How is one to be bona fide iconoclast when Burger King sells onion rings with “Sometimes You Gotta Break the Rules”? [...]For if anarchy actually wins, if rulelessness become the rule, then protest and change become not just impossible but incoherent. It’d be like casting a ballot for Stalin: you are voting for an end to all voting.”

Freedom - Jonathan Franzen

“You, too, can buy six-foot-wide plasma TV screens that consume unbelievable amounts of energy, even when they're not turned on! But that's OK, because that's why we threw you out of your homes in the first places, so we could strip-mine your ancestral hills and feed the coal-fired generators that are the number-one cause of global warming and other excellent things like acid rain. It's a perfect world, isn't it? It's a perfect system, because as long as you've got your six-foot-wide plasma TV, and the electricity to run it, you don't have to think about any of the ugly consequences. You can watch Survivor: Indonesia till there's no more Indonesia!"

Howl - Allan Ginsberg

“Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! Invisible suburbs! Skeleton treasuries! Blind capitals! Demonic industries! Spectral nations! Invincible madhouses! Granite cocks! Monstrous bombs!

They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven”

Fight Club- Chuck Palahniuk

“You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.”

The Pillowman - Martin McDonagh

TUPOLSKI Were you trying to be subservient?

KATURIAN. No.

TUPOLSKI. Then you were trying to be provocative.

Guapa - Saleem Haddad

“But in the midst of this decaying, burning city, there are pockets of hope. It can be found in the tiny dark rooms in underground bars, where women with short hair cheer on men in dresses. It can be felt in abandoned cinemas where anonymous strangers fall in love if only for a few moments, and in the living rooms where families crowd around, drinking sweet black tea and Skyping their homesick relatives so that together they can watch the long, rambling talk shows that go on all night.” 


Photocredit: Kendra Miller via Flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/brokendownlover/

Online learning, stories, cinema, and all things tech. Nostalgic for the old days, but grateful for Wifi. Didn't doubt Snape for a second.