Today’s quotes are from The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain. It’s one of the best known crime novels, and the reason I picked it up was because it inspired a classic film noir. Who can resist that?
With that in mind, I picked quotes from the book that I thought go well with the film noir type.
‘As the fellow said when he fell out of the airplane, it was a swell ride but we lit kind of hard.’
He might be asleep, but even asleep he looked like he knew more than most guys awake, and a kind of a lump came up in my throat. It was like the sweet chariot had swung low and was going to pick me up.
‘Oh yes. I fell for you because you were smart. And now I find out you’re smart. Ain’t that funny? You fall for a guy because he’s smart and then you find out he’s smart.’
‘So God kissed us on the brow, did he? Then the devil went to bed with us, and believe you me, kid, he sleeps pretty good.’
‘Because maybe it’s a stall, what he says about her, and maybe it’s not, see? But if I’m here, neither one of them can skip, you get it?’
Too much fun! How can you read that last quote and not do it in your best noir voice? Here, a movie clip for you.
All of these quotes come from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.
evaporated like the tail end of a sweet dream.
and a mouth set in a sort of perpetual sneer. I don’t mean a nasty sneer, but an amused, mysterious sneer, as if all the people around her were pretty silly and she could tell some good jokes on them if she wanted to.
I liked looking on at other people in crucial situations … I certainly learned a lot of things I never would have learned otherwise this way, and even when they surprised me or made me sick I never let on, but pretended that’s the way I knew things were all the time.
I’d discovered, after a lot of extreme apprehension about what spoons to use, that if you do something incorrect at table with a certain arrogance, as if you knew perfectly well you were doing it properly, you can get away with it and nobody will think you are bad-mannered or poorly brought up. They will think you are original and very witty.
I spent a lot of time having imaginary conversations with Buddy Willard. He was a coupe of years older than I was and very scientific, so he could always prove things. When I was with him I had to work to keep my head above water.
These conversations I had in my mind usually repeated the beginnings of conversations I’d really had with Buddy, only they finished with me answering him back quite sharply, instead of just sitting around and saying, ‘I guess so.’
For the first time in my life, sitting there in the sound-proof heart of the UN building between Constantin who could play tennis as well as simultaneously interpret and the Russian girl who knew so many idioms, I felt dreadfully inadequate. The trouble was, I had been inadequate all along, I simply hadn’t thought about it.
The quotes today are from John Steinbeck‘s Cannery Row.
Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, “whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches,” by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, “Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,” and he would have meant the same thing.
And perhaps that might be the way to write this book – to open the page and to let the stories crawl in by themselves.
but Alfred has triumphed over his environment and has brought his environment up with him
Doc would listen to any kind of nonsense and change it for you to a kind of wisdom.
While he was looking for a question Doc asked one. Hazel hated that, it meant casting about in his mind for an answer and casting about in Hazel’s mind was like wandering alone in a deserted museum. Hazel’s mind was choked with uncatalogued exhibits.
It had become his custom, each time he was deserted, to buy a gallon of wine, to stretch out on the comfortably hard bunk and get drunk. Sometimes he cried a little all by himself but it was luxurious stuff and he usually had a wonderful feeling of well-being from it.