John Knowles Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 66 quotes)
We were careless and wild, and I suppose we could be thought of as a sign of the life the war was being fought to preserve. Anyway, they were more indulgent toward us than at any other time; they snapped at the heels of the seniors, driving and molding and arming them for the war. They noticed our games tolerantly. We reminded them of what peace was like, of lives which were not bound up with destruction.
This was the tree, and it seemed to me standing there to resemble those men, the giants of your childhood, whom you encounter years later and find that they are not merely smaller in relation to your growth, but they are absolutely smaller, shrunken by age. In this double demotion the old giants have become pygmies while you were looking the other way.
So the war swept over like a wave at the seashore, gathering power and size as i bore on us, overwhelming in its rush, seemingly inescapable, and then at the last moment eluded by a word from Phineas; I had simply ducked, that was all, and the wave's concentrated power had hurtled harmlessly overhead, no doubt throwing others roughly up on th beach, but leaving me peaceably treading water as before. I did not stop to think that one wave is inevitably followed by another even larger and more powerful, when the tide is coming in.
Last night as your breathingsettled into sleepwhat I heard was the half-forgotten sound, the velvet rush and hiss, the automatic clickas the record player's arm runs out, is brushed awayat the record's centre, the pulse of its subsidingoddly comforting.33 1/3 rpm. The knowledge that when the music ends, there will not be silence.
Everyone contributed to this legend except Phineas. At the outset, with the attempt on Hitler’s life, Finny had said, “If someone gave Leper a loaded gun and put it at Hitler’s temple, he’d miss.” There was a general shout of outrage, and then we recommended the building of Leper’s triumphal arch around Brinker’s keystone. Phineas took no part in it, and since little else was talked about in the Butt Room he soon stopped going there and stopped me from going as well—”How do you expect to be an athlete if you smoke like a forest fire?” He drew me increasingly away from the Butt Room crowd, away from Brinker and Chet and all other friends, into a world inhabited by just himself and me, where there was no war at all, just Phineas and me alone among all the people of the world, training for the Olympics of 1944.
Someone knocked me down; I pushed Brinker over a small slope; someone was trying to tackle me from behind. Everywhere there was the smell of vitality in clothes, the vital something in wool and flannel and corduroy which spring releases. I had forgotten that this existed, this smell which instead of the first robin, or the first bud or leaf, means to me that spring has come. I had always welcomed vitality and energy and warmth radiating from thick and sturdy winter clothes. It made me happy, but I kept wondering about next spring, about whether khaki, or suntans or whatever the uniform of the season was, had this aura of promise in it. I felt fairly sure it didn't.