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

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

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.

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Next to music, beer was best.

Next to music, beer was best.

Carson McCullers
We are homesick most for the places we have never known.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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

Carson McCullers
Im a stranger in a strange land.

Im a stranger in a strange land.

Carson McCullers
All we can do is go around telling the truth.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

Carson McCullers
They are the we of me.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.....

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

Carson McCullers
Resentment is the most precious flower of poverty.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

I wish I was somebody else except me.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Coming down was the hardest part of any climbing.

Carson McCullers
You mind Ralph,

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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