Shrewd Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 42 quotes )
Jordan Baker instinctively avoided clever, shrewd men, and now I saw that this was because she felt safer on a plane where any divergence from a code would be thought impossible. She was incurably dishonest. She wasn't able to endure being at a disadvantage and, given this unwillingness, I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool, insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard, jaunty body.
Many have given up. They stay home and watch the TV screen, living on the earnings of their parents, cousins, bothers, or uncles, and only leave the house to go to the movies or to the nearest bar. "How're you making it?" on may ask, running into them along the block, or in the bar. "Oh, I'm TV-ing it"; with the saddest, sweetest, most shamefaced of smiles, and from a great distance. This distance one is compelled to respect; anyone who has traveled so far will not easily be dragged again into the world. There are further retreats, of course, than the TV screen or the bar. There are those who are simply sitting on their stoops, "stoned," animated for a moment only, and hideously, by the approach of someone who may lend them the money for a "fix." Or by the approach of someone from whom they can purchase it, one of the shrewd ones, on the way to prison or just coming out.
I'm not asking you to forgive me. I'll never understand or forgive myself. And if a bullet gets me, so help me, I'll laugh at myself for being an idiot. There's one thing I do know... and that is that I love you, Scarlett. In spite of you and me and the whole silly world going to pieces around us, I love you. Because we're alike. Bad lots, both of us. Selfish and shrewd. But able to look things in the eyes as we call them by their right names.
I am too alone in the world, and yet not alone enoughto make every moment holy.I am too tiny in this world, and not tiny enoughjust to lie before you like a thing,shrewd and secretive.I want my own will, and I want simply to be with my will,as it goes toward action;and in those quiet, sometimes hardly moving times,when something is coming near,I want to be with those who know secret thingsor else alone.I want to be a mirror for your whole body,and I never want to be blind, or to be too oldto hold up your heavy and swaying picture.I want to unfold.I do?t want to stay folded anywhere,because where I am folded, there I am a lie.and I want my grasp of things to betrue before you. I want to describe myselflike a painting that I looked atclosely for a long time,like a saying that I finally understood,like the pitcher I use every day,like the face of my mother,like a shipthat carried methrough the wildest storm of all.
I don’t want to stand before you like a thing, shrewd, secretive. I want my own will, and I want simply to be with my will, as it goes toward action. And in the silent, sometimes hardly moving times, when something is coming near, I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone. I want to unfold. I don’t want to be folded anywhere, because where I am folded, there I am a lie.
Once it was the fashion to represent villages as places inhabited by laughable, livable simpletons, unspotted by the worldliness of city life, though occasionally shrewd in rural concerns. Later it was the popular thing to show villages as rotten with vice, and especially such sexual vice...incest, sodomy, bestiality, sadism, and masochism were supposed to rage behind lace curtains and in the haylofts, while a rigid piety was professed in the streets.
The gravel road widened into a large turnaround where three similar looking and designed brothels sat waiting for customers. They were called Sheila's Front Porch, Tawny's High Five Ranch and Miss Delilah's House of Holies."Nice," Rachel said as we surveyed the scene. "why are these places always named after women -- as if women actually own them?""You got me. I guess Mister Dave's House of Holies wouldn't go over so well with the guys."Rachel smiled."You're right. I guess it's a shrewd move. Name a place of female degradation and slavery after a female and it doesn't sound so bad, does it? It's packaging.
If thou could'st empty all thyself of self, like to a shell dishabited, then might He find thee on the ocean shelf, and say "This is not dead," and fill thee with Himself instead. But thou art all replete with very thou and hast such shrewd activity, that when He comes He says, "This is enow unto itself-'twere better let it be, it is so small and full, there is no room for Me.
His education had been neither scientific nor classical—merely “Modern.” The severities both of abstraction and of high human tradition had passed him by: and he had neither peasant shrewdness nor aristocratic honour to help him. He was a man of straw, a glib examinee in subjects that require no exact knowledge (he had always done well on Essays and General Papers) and the first hint of a real threat to his bodily life knocked him sprawling.
He walked among the bookstore shelves, hearing Muzak in the air. There were rows of handsome covers, prosperous and assured. He felt a fine excitement, hefting a new book, fitting hand over sleek spine, seeing lines of type jitter past his thumb as he let the pages fall. He was a young man, shrewd in his fervors, who knew there were books he wanted to read and others he absolutely had to own, the ones that gesture in special ways, that have a rareness or daring, a charge of heat that stains the air around them.
They think in terms of a sentimental ballad. And that's what terrifies you about them. It isn't their cruelty, it isn't even their shrewdness - it's their extraordinary naivete. Everything in their whole bloody world is a cliche. Everything is born out of a cliche, rests on a cliche, survives by a cliche. And they believe in the cliches - there's no hope
I have an unfortunate character; whether it is my upbringing that made me like that or God who created me so, I do not know. I know only that if I cause unhappiness to others, I myself am no less happy. I realize this is poor consolation for them - but the fact remains that it is so. In my early youth, after leaving the guardianship of my parents, I plunged into all the pleasures money could buy, and naturally these pleasures grew distasteful to me. Then I went into high society, but soon enough grew tired of it; I fell in love with beautiful society women and was loved by them, but their love only aggravated my imagination and vanity while my heart remained desolate... I began to read and to study, but wearied of learning, too; I saw that neither fame nor happiness depended on it in the slightest, for the happiest people were the ignorant, and fame was a matter of luck, to achieve which you only had to be shrewd...
The thing that impressed me then as now about New Yor? was the sharp, and at the same time immense, contrast it showed between the dull and the shrewd, the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor, the wise and the ignoran? the strong, or those who ultimately dominated, were so very strong, and the weak so very, very weak - and so very, very many.
I thought if only I had a keen, shapely bone structure to my face or could discuss politics shrewdly or was a famous writer Constantin might find me interesting enough to sleep with. And then I wondered if as soon as he came to like me he would sink into ordinariness, and if as soon as he came to love me I would find fault, the way I did with Buddy Willard and the boys before him.
But the more shrewdly and earnestly we study the histories of men, the less ready shall we be to make use of the word ‘artificial.’ Nothing in the world has ever been artificial. Many customs, many dresses, many works of art are branded with artificiality because the exhibit vanity and self-consciousness: as if vanity were not a deep and elemental thing, like love and hate and the fear of death. Vanity may be found in darkling deserts, in the hermit and in the wild beasts that crawl around him. It may be good or evil, but assuredly it is not artificial: vanity is a voice out of the abyss.
The good Bishop of Assisi expressed a sort of horror at the hard life which the Little Brothers lived at the Portiuncula, without comforts, without possessions, eating anything they could get and sleeping anyhow on the ground. St. Francis answered him with that curious and almost stunning shrewdness which the unworldly can sometimes wield like a club of stone. He said, 'If we had any possessions, we should need weapons and laws to defend them.
In this way unwittingly the Widow-to-Be is assuring her husband’s death—his doom. Even as she believes she is behaving intelligently—“shrewdly” and “reasonably”—she is taking him to a teeming petri dish of lethal bacteria where within a week he will succumb to a virulent staph infection—a “hospital” infection acquired in the course of his treatment for pneumonia. Even as she is fantasizing that he will be home for dinner she is assuring that he will never return home. How unwitting, all Widows-to-Be who imagine that they are doing the right thing, in innocence and ignorance!
The god of unreflecting drunkenness advised me to take no reading matter at all, or if I absolutely insisted on reading matter, then a little stack of Rasputin would do; Apollo, on the other hand, in his shrewd, sensible way, tried to talk me out of this trip to France altogether, but when he saw that Oskar's mind was made up, insisted on proper baggage; very well, I would have to take the highly respectable yawn that Goethe had yawned so long ago, but for spite, and also because I knew that The Elective Affinities would never solve all my sexual problems, I also took Rasputin and his naked women, naked but for their black stockings. If Apollo strove for harmony and Dionysus for drunkenness and chaos, Oskar was a little demigod whose business it was to harmonize chaos and intoxicate reason. In addition to his mortality, he had one advantage over all the full divinities whose characters and careers had been established in the remote past: Oskar could read what he pleased whereas the gods censored themselves.
I agree, it is a pity I never saw the pfifltriggi at home. I know nearly enough about them to "fake" a visit to them as an episode in the story, but I don't think we ought to introduce any mere fiction. "True in substance" sounds all very well on earth, but I can't imagine myself explaining it to Oyarsa, and I have a shrewd suspicion (see my last letter) that I have not heard the end of him. Anyway, why should our "readers" (you seem to know the devil of a lot about them!) who are so determined to hear nothing about the language, be so anxious to know more of the pfiflltriggi.
There was nothing to cool or banish love in these circumstances, though much to create despair. Much, too, you will think, reader, to engender jealousy: if a woman, in my position, could presume to be jealous of a woman in Miss Ingram's. But I was not jealous...Miss Ingram was a mark beneath jealousy: she was too inferior to excite the feeling. Pardon the seeming paradox; I mean what I say. She was very showy, but she was not genuine; she had a fine person, many brilliant attainments; but her mind was poor, her heart barren by nature: nothing bloomed spontaneously on that soil; no unforced natural fruit delighted by its freshness. She was not good; she was not original: she used repeat sounding phrases from books: she never offered, nor had, any opinion of her own. She advocated a high tone of sentiment; but she did not know the sensations of sympathy and pity; tenderness and truth were not in her. Too often she betrayed this...Other eyes besides mine watched these manifestations of character--watched them closely, keenly shrewdly. Yes; the future bridegroom, Mr. Rochester himself, exercised over his intended a ceaseless surveillance; and it was from this sagacity--this guardedness of his--this perfect, clear conciousness of his fair one's defects--this obvious absence of passion in his sentiments towards her, that ever-toturing pain arose.I saw he was going to marry her, for family, perhaps political reasons, because her rank and connecions suited him; I felt he had not given her his love, and that her qualifications were ill adapted to win from him that treasure. This was the point--this was where the nerve was touched and teased--this was where the fever was sustained and fed: she could not charm him.If she had managed the victory at once, and he had yielded and sincerely laid his heart at her feet, I should have covered my face, turned to the wall, and have died to them.