Wednesday 22 January 2014

Inspirational Quotes 49

All from Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham: the story of a sensitive, disabled young man in the late 19th century who tries accountancy and art before settling on medical school.
In moments of emotion people are inclined to be melodramatic.

Philip had few friends. His habit of reading isolated him.

Fraulein Anna, foredoomed to a spinster's life, with her high cheek-bones and large misshapen nose.

But the young know they are wretched, for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them… It looks as if they were victims of a conspiracy… All they have read and all they have been told are lies, lies, lies.

He did not know a soul, and he had no idea how he was to get to know anyone. He was tired of going everywhere by himself.

Wannabe painter Philip muses: It was plain that self-confidence meant very little… He would never be more than second-rate… He knew some who had dragged along for 20 years in the pursuit of a fame which always escaped them… He had worked very hard, it would be too cruel if all that industry were futile.

He prided himself on his self-control. It had been whipped into him by the mockery of his fellows. Then they called him cynical and callous.

It seemed hardly worth while to read a long volume in order to learn that you ought to behave exactly like everybody else… The actions which were to the advantage of society it termed virtuous and those which were not it called vicious.

[The medical students] used a variety of means natural to the young in order to impress upon the less fortunate a proper sense of their inferiority. The students who had joined in October had already shaken down into groups.

Philip had a passion for discussion, but no talent for small-talk… He did not know the catchwords which only need be said to excite a laugh.

He had quarrelled with all his friends in Paris. He developed a talent for telling them home truths.

[Hayward] still talked vaguely of the things he was going to do in the future, but with less conviction; and he was conscious that his friends no longer believed in him… He was still cherishing the remains of his good looks.

Down on his luck, Philip gets a job in a department store: "This is your first visit to our social evenings, ain't it? I expect you feel a bit shy, but there's no cause to, I promise you that." She did her best to make people feel at home. She slapped them on the shoulders and laughed a great deal… Those who were going to take part in the social evening came in, the younger members of the staff mostly, boys who had not girls of their own, and girls who had not yet found anyone to walk with… Most of them had "fellers", and those who hadn't said they had rather than have it supposed that no one had an inclination for them… Their humour was a low facetiousness.

The bright hopes of youth had to be paid for at such a bitter price of disillusionment.

[He returns to his old school.] In that place where at least by name he had known everybody now he knew not a soul.

More here, and links to the rest.

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