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45 Quotes From Literature That Will Actually Change Your Life

“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.” —Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what quote from literature changed their outlook on life. Here are their enlightening responses.


2. "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."

—Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Submitted by Shelley Schoppert, Facebook

3. "The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one."

—J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

Submitted by Bram NL, Facebook

4. "I assign myself no rank or any limit, and such an attitude is very much against the trend of the times. But my world has become one of infinite possibilities."

—Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Submitted by Erik

5. "You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do."

—David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

Submitted by Marianne Myers, Facebook

7. "We accept the love we think we deserve."

—Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Submitted by Brittany Scott, Facebook

8. "Forgiving isn't something you do for someone else. It's something you do for yourself. It's saying, 'You're not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.' It's saying, 'You don't get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.'"

—Jodi Picoult, The Storyteller

Submitted by Rachel Dargan, Facebook

9. "Adversity is like a strong wind. It...tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that afterward we see ourselves as we really are, and not merely as we might like to be."

—Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

Submitted by Nusaira A. Hassan, Facebook

10. "Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open."

—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Submitted by Spencer Althouse

We mustn't tell lies: We previously included a quote from one of the Harry Potter movies instead of from a book. Sorry!


12. "Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day."

—Paulo Coehlo, Brida

Submitted by Corinne Walker, Facebook

13. "I am nothing special, of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts and I've led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I've loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough."

— Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Submitted by Hajar Chahboune, Facebook

14. "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Submitted by Ilse Nightwalker, Facebook

15. "I won't tell you what to believe, Eragon. It is far better to be taught to think critically and then be allowed to make your own decisions than to have someone else's notions thrust upon you."

—Christopher Paolini, Eldest

Submitted by Christina Oey, Facebook

17. "I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction."

—Ayn Rand, Anthem

Submitted by Emma

18. "All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renenwed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king."

—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Submitted by Cristina Lopez, Facebook

19. "Be good, be young, be true! Evil is nothing but vanity, let us have the pride of good, and above all let us never despair."

—Alexandre Dumas, fils, The Lady of the Camellias

Submitted by Kelcie Foley, Facebook

20. "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars."

—Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Submitted by Mike Wargo, Facebook

22. "Drive away and try to keep smiling. Get a little rock and roll on the radio and go toward all the life there is with all the courage you can find and all the belief you can muster. Be true, be brave, stand. All the rest is darkness."

—Stephen King, IT

Submitted by Cody Lakin, Facebook

23. "'Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.'"

—E.B. White, Charlotte's Web

Submitted by Samantha Kersul, Facebook

24. "Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic."

—Frank Herbert, Dune

Submitted by Lindsey Cepak, Facebook

25. "To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget."

—Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living

Submitted by Tarin Beckett, Facebook


27. "The loneliest moment in someone's life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly."

—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Submitted by Brennan Clarke, Facebook

28. "We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing."

—Charles Bukowski, The Captain Is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship

Submitted by Jeremy Edwards, Facebook

29. "Nothing is random, nor will anything ever be... In the end, or rather, as things really are, any event, no matter how small, is intimately and sensibly tied to all others... And, when all is perceived in such a way as to obviate time, justice becomes apparent not as something that will be, but something that is."

—Mark Helprin, Winter's Tale

Submitted by Anna Shafer, Facebook

30. "Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)"

—Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Submitted by Norminy Tan Barodi, Facebook

32. "When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings."

—Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Submitted by Natasha Gracey, Facebook

33. "People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of."

—Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Submitted by Theresa Proler, Facebook

34. "'And tho' / We are not now that strength which in old days / Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; / One equal temper of heroic hearts, / Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will / To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.'"

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "Ulysses"

Submitted by Fraser

35. "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will."

—Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Submitted by Rebecca Cook, Facebook

37. "I remembered everything. I remembered the cadavers and Doreen and the story of the fig tree and Marco's diamond and the sailor on the Common and Doctor Gordon's wall-eyed nurse and the broken thermometers and the Negro with his two kinds of beans and the twenty pounds I gained on insulin and the rock that bulged between sky and sea like a gray skull. Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind snow, would numb and cover them. But they were part of me. They were my landscape."

—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Submitted by Katrina Mazza, Facebook

38. "The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs."

—George Eliot, Middlemarch

Submitted by Izzy Thompson, Facebook

39. "Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."

—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Submitted by Sarah Mosher, Facebook

40. "The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity — it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud."

—Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Submitted by Christy Potter, Facebook

42. "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

—John Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn"

Submitted by Duane Cavanagh, Facebook

43. "I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself."

—Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Submitted by Rebecca Cook, Facebook

44. "He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, 'Wait and Hope.'"

—Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Submitted by Lauren Brooks, Facebook

45. "'Are you ready?' Klaus asked finally. 'No,' Sunny answered. 'Me neither,' Violet said, 'but if we wait until we're ready we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives, Let's go.'"

—Daniel Handler, The Ersatz Elevator

Submitted by KC Meyer, Facebook

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