Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of thoughts and quotes by Carson McCullers on music, drinking, love, nostalgia, freedom, liberty, privacy, cruelty, neglect, hate, loneliness, brooding and wisdom.

95 Insightful Quotes By Carson McCullers, The Pioneer Of Southern Gothic

Quick Facts

Famous As: American novelist

Born On: February 19, 1917

Died On: September 29, 1967

Born In: Columbus, Georgia, USA

Died At Age: 50

Carson McCullers was a U.S.  novelist, playwright, short story writer, poet and essayist, who lived in the 20th century and is known as a pioneer of the genre of literature now known as 'Southern Gothic'. She was born in the South of the United States and hence most of her stories had a Southern theme. McCullers wanted to study music but later on started off on a writing career while simultaneously working in odd jobs and going to the night classes at Columbia University in New York. Her first published work was the story ‘Wunderkid’ depicting McCullers’ own brush with music. McCullers had a relatively short writing career due to her untimely death at the age of 50 but by that time she had produced a lot of great work that earned her a lot of accolades. Some of her best known works include ‘Reflections of a Golden Eye’, ‘The Ballad of the Sad Café’, ‘The Member of the Wedding’ and ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’ among others. She was an author who created a niche for herself in spite of the fact that some of her works received a lot of criticism from intellectuals. Her books, poems, essays and other writings have become popular quotations and are frequently quoted by people. A collection of sayings, thoughts and quotations by Carson McCullers on love, unrequited, longing, caring, reason, demonstrate, wandering, enlightenment, restlessness, sorrow, humanity, life, improvement and childhood.

Listed In:

Next to music, beer was best.

Carson McCullers

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

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

How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?

Carson McCullers

The way i need you is a loneliness i cannot bear.

Carson McCullers

The closest thing to being cared for is to care for someone else.

Carson McCullers

The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.

Carson McCullers

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

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

And the curt truth is that, in a deep secret way, the state of being loved is intolerable to many.

Carson McCullers

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

When a person knows and can't make the others understand, what does he do?

Carson McCullers

Im a stranger in a strange land.

Carson McCullers

All we can do is go around telling the truth.

Carson McCullers

I think we look for the differences in people because it makes us less lonely.

Carson McCullers

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are gone, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.

Carson McCullers

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

I do not have any home. So why should I be homesick?

Carson McCullers

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

There is no stillness like the quiet of the first cold nights in the fall.

Carson McCullers

I am not meant to be alone and without you who understands.

Carson McCullers

They are the we of me.

Carson McCullers

It was like she was cheated. Only nobody had cheated her. So there was nobody to take it out on. However, just the same she had that feeling. Cheated.

Carson McCullers

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.

Carson McCullers

Once you have lived with another, it is a great torture to have to live alone.

Carson McCullers

A most mediocre person can be the object of a love which is wild, extravagant, and beautiful as the poison lillies of the swamp.

Carson McCullers

The thinking mind is best controlled by the imagination.

Carson McCullers

She stood in front of the mirror a long time, and finally decided she either looked like a sap or else she looked very beautiful. One or the other.

Carson McCullers

The whole world was this symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen.

Carson McCullers

My advice to you is this. Do not attempt to stand alone. ...The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.

Carson McCullers

But all the time-no matter what she was doing-there was music.

Carson McCullers

There was hope in him, and soon perhaps the outline of his journey would take form.

Carson McCullers

The mind is like a richly woven tapestry in which the colors are distilled from the experiences of the senses, and the design drawn from the convolutions of the intellect.

Carson McCullers

It was better to be in a jail where you could bang the walls than in a jail you could not see.

Carson McCullers

It is music that causes the heart to broaden and the listener to grow cold with ecstasy and fright.

Carson McCullers

There's nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book.

Carson McCullers

Sometimes this fellow's music was like little colored pieces of crystal candy, and other times it was the softest, saddest thing she had ever imagined about.

Carson McCullers

The value and quality of any love is determined solely by the lover himself.

Carson McCullers

Owing to the fact he was a mute they were able to give him all the qualities they wanted him to have.

Carson McCullers

While time, the endless idiot, runs screaming around the world

Carson McCullers

Because in some men it is in them to give up everything personal at some time, before it ferments and poisons--throw it to some human being or some human idea. They have to.

Carson McCullers

The human heart is a lonely hunter-but the search for us southerners is more anguished.....

Carson McCullers

There are the lover and the beloved, but these two come from different countries.

Carson McCullers

It was like she was so empty there wasn't even a feeling or thought in her.

Carson McCullers

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

And why did everyone persist in thinking the mute was exactly as they wanted him to be--when most likely it was all a very queer mistake?... In the battling tumult of voices he alone was silent.

Carson McCullers

Resentment is the most precious flower of poverty.

Carson McCullers

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

His own life seemed so solitary, a fragile column supporting nothing amidst the wreckage of the years.

Carson McCullers

In the town there were two mutes, and they were always together.

Carson McCullers

I must go home periodically to renew my sense of horror.

Carson McCullers

I got to wear blinders all the time so I won't think sideways or in the past.

Carson McCullers

And by habit they shortened their thoughts so that they would not wander out into the darkness beyond tomorrow.

Carson McCullers

But no value has been put on human life; it is given to us free and taken without being paid for. What is it worth? If you look around, at times the value may seem to be little or nothing at all.

Carson McCullers

Us going to have a cup of coffee. Then maybe it all won't seem so bad.

Carson McCullers

Jake had begun to carry chalk in his pockets, also. He wrote brief sentences. He tried to word them so that a man would think.

Carson McCullers

To the lost, transfixed among the self-inflicted ruins, All that is non-air (if this indeed is not deception) Is agony immobilized. While Time, The endless idiot, runs screaming round the world.

Carson McCullers

Wonderful music like this was the worst hurt there could be. The whole world was this symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen.

Carson McCullers

I wish I was somebody else except me.

Carson McCullers

That was the best of all. To speak the truth and be attended.

Carson McCullers

Why did he go onward? Why did he not rest here upon the bottom of utmost humiliation and for a while take his content? But he went onward.

Carson McCullers

That was all he wanted for himself – to give to her. Biff's mouth hardened. He had done nothing wrong but in him he felt a strange guilt. Why? The dark guilt in all men, unreckoned and without a name.

Carson McCullers

You don't know what it is to store up a lot of details and then come upon something real.

Carson McCullers

He nearly always put his hand on his friend's arm and looked for a second into his face before leaving him.

Carson McCullers

Coming down was the hardest part of any climbing.

Carson McCullers

You mind Ralph," she called back to Bubber. "Mind the gnats don't sit on his eyelids.

Carson McCullers

It was almost three o'clock, the most stagnant hour in the day or night.

Carson McCullers

Nothing had really changed....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

In her heart it didn't give her near the same feeling that music did. Nothing was really as good as music.

Carson McCullers

There was a hollow in her chest, but at the bottom of this emptiness a heavy weight pressed down and bruised her stomach, so that she felt sick.

Carson McCullers

You have a name and one thing after another happens to you, and you behave in various ways and do things, so that soon the name begins to have a meaning. Things have accumulated around your name.

Carson McCullers

People, unless they are nilly-willy or very sick, cannot be taken into the hands and be changed overnight into somthing more worth-while and profitable.

Carson McCullers

He had a few eccentricities himself and was tolerant of the peculiarities of others; indeed, he rather relished the ridiculous.

Carson McCullers

He was like a man who had served a term in prison or had been to Harvard College or had lived for a long time with foreigners in South America.

Carson McCullers

Wonderful music like this was the worst hurt there could be. The whole world was the symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen.

Carson McCullers

A person can't pick up they children and just squeeze them to which-a-way they wants them to be.

Carson McCullers

The world is certainty a sudden place.

Carson McCullers

It wasn't like she was lonely and in fact – she had understood it all in every way except with her brain. Now she knew that she knew.

Carson McCullers

After such mornings he returned to the show with relief. It eased him to push through the crowds of people. The noise, the rank stinks, the shouldering contact of human flesh soothed his jangled nerves.

Carson McCullers

It was funny, too, how lonesome a person could be in a crowded house.

Carson McCullers

She did not know why she was sad, but because of this peculiar sadness, she began to realize she ought to leave the town.

Carson McCullers

Son, do you know how love should be begun?" The boy sat small and listening and still. Slowly he shook his head. The old man leaned closer and whispered: "A tree. A rock. A cloud.

Carson McCullers

They start at the wrong end of love. They begin at the climax. Can you wonder why it is so miserable?

Carson McCullers

You think out everything in your brain. While us rather talk from something in our hearts that has been there for a long time. That's one of them differences.

Carson McCullers

There was none of the quiet insolence about this man.

Carson McCullers

A person's got to fight for every single thing they get,' she said slowly. 'And I've noticed a lot of times that the farther down a kid comes in the family the better the kid really is.

Carson McCullers

To me it is the irony of fate,” she said. “The way they come here. Those moths could fly anywhere. Yet they keep hanging around the windows of this house.

Carson McCullers

Sometimes he thought that he had talked so much in the years before to his children and they had understood so little that now there was nothing at all to say.

Carson McCullers

He was thinking that in nearly every person there was some special physical part kept always guarded.

Carson McCullers

He could not understand the wild quiver of his heart, nor the following sense of recklessness and grace that lingered after she was gone.

Carson McCullers

She had always kept things to herself. That was one sure truth.

Carson McCullers

The loneliness in him was so keen that he was filled with terror. Usually he had a pint of bootleg white lightning. He drank the raw liquor and by daylight he was warm and relaxed.

Carson McCullers

The mutual distrust between the men who were just awakened and those who were ending a long night gave everyone a feeling of estrangement.

Carson McCullers

In one of their quarrels, they had begun calling each other Mister. and Misses., and since then they had never made it up enough to change it.

Carson McCullers