Up in Michigan

“She didn’t want to go to bed yet because she knew Jim would be going out and she wanted to see him as he went out so she could take the way he looked up to bed with her.”

“She was cold and miserable and everything felt gone.”

Indian Camp

“In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die.”

The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife

“Dick was a big man. He knew how big a man he was. He liked to get into fights. He was happy.”

The Three-Day Blow

“The liquor had all died out of him and left him alone.”

“Outside now the Marge business was no longer so tragic. It was not even very important. The wind blew everything like that away.”

Soldier’s Home

“All of the times that had been able to make him feel cool and clear inside himself when he thought of them; the times so long back when he had done the one thing, the only thing for a man to do, easily and naturally, when he might have done something else, now lost their cool, valuable quality and then were lost themselves.”

“Krebs acquired the nausea in regard to experience that is the result of untruth or exaggeration…that he had been badly, sickeningly frightened all the time.  In this way he lost everything.”

“Nothing was changed in the town except that the young girls had grown up.  But they lived in such a complicated world of already defined alliances and shifting feuds that Krebs did not feel the energy or the courage to break into it.”

“He did not want any consequences.  He did not want any consequences ever again.  He wanted to live along without consequences.”

“That was the thing about French girls and German girls. There was not all this talking. You couldn’t talk much and you did not need to talk. It was simple and you were friends.”

“So his mother prayed for him and then they stood up and Krebs kissed his mother and went out of the house.  He had tried so to keep his life from being complicated…He wanted his life to go smoothly.  It had just gotten going that way.  Well, that was all over now, anyway.  He would go over to the schoolyard and watch Helen play indoor baseball.”

Cross-Country Snow

“The rush and the sudden swoop as he dropped down a steep undulation in the mountain side plucked Nick’s mind out and left him only the wonderful flying, dropping sensation in his body.”

“There’s nothing really can touch skiing, is there?” Nick said.  “The way it feels when you first drop off on a long run.”

My Old Man

“When I’d sit watching him working out in the hot sun I sure felt fond of him.”

“The town ain’t much, but there’s a lake and a swell forest that we used to go off bumming in all day, a couple of us kids, and my old man made me a sling shot and we got a lot of things with it but the best one was a magpie.”

“This Kzar is a great big yellow horse that looks like just nothing but run.”

Big Two-Hearted River

“The earth felt good against his back.”

“His muscles ached and the day was hot, but Nick felt happy. He felt he had left everything behind, the need for thinking, the need to write, other needs. It was all back of him.”

“Nick was happy as he crawled inside the tent. He had not been unhappy all day. This was different though. Now things were done. There had been this to do. Now it was done. It had been a hard trip. He was very tired. That was done. He had made his camp. He was settled. Nothing could touch him. It was a good place to camp. He was there, in the good place. He was in his home where he had made it. Now he was hungry.”

“I’ve got a right to eat this kind of stuff, if I’m willing to carry it,” Nick said. His voice sounded strange in the darkening woods. He did not speak again.”

“Nick felt awkward and professionally happy with all his equipment hanging from him.”

“Nick did not like to fish with other men on the river. Unless they were of your party, they spoiled it.”

In Another Country

“Beyond the old hospital were the new brick pavilions, and there we met every afternoon and were all very polite and interested in what was the matter, and sat in the machines that were to make so much difference.”

“But this was a long time ago, and then we did not any of us know how it was going to be afterward. We only knew then that there was always the war, but that we were not going to it anymore.”

“…I knew that I would never have done such things, and I was very much afraid to die and wondering how I would be when I went back to the front again.”

“He cannot marry.  He cannot marry,” he said angrily.  “If he is to lose everything, he should not place himself in a position to lose that.  He should not place himself in a position to lose.  He should find things he cannot lose.”

Hills Like White Elephants

“Yes,” said the girl.  “Everything tastes of licorice.  Especially all the things you’ve waited so long for, like absinthe.”

“I don’t care about me.”
“Well, I care about you.”

“And you should have all this,” she said.  “And we could have everything and every day we make it more impossible.”

“I don’t feel any way,” the girl said.  “I just know things.”


Copyright 1987 by Charles Scribner’s Sons/MacMillan Publishing

photo credit: Corbis