Flowers for Algernon (1966)
- Quotes from the novel based upon his 1958 short story
- Now I understand one of the important reasons for going to college and getting an education is to learn that the things you've believed in all your life aren't true, and that nothing is what it appears to be.
- The answer can't be found in books — or be solved by bringing it to other people. Not unless you want to remain a child all your life. You've got to find the answer inside you — feel the right thing to do.
- My most absorbing interests at the present time are etymologies of ancient languages, the newer works on the calculus of variations, and Hindu history. It's amazing the way things, apparently disconnected, hang together.
- People resent being shown that they don't approach the complexities of the problem — they don't know what exists beyond the surface ripples.
- Strange about learning; the farther I go the more I see that I never knew even existed.
- Even a feeble-minded man wants to be like other men.
- A child may not know how to feed itself, or what to eat, yet it knows hunger.
- The foolish thing was trying to solve the problem all by myself. But the deeper I get tangled up in this mass of dreams and memories the more I realize that emotional problems can't be solved as intellectual problems are.
- I've got to grow up. For me it means everything...
- You can't have everything you want in one woman.
- The meaning of my total existence involves knowing the possibilities of my future as well as my past, where I'm going as well as where I've been.
- I am not only a thing, but also a way of being — one of many ways — and knowing the paths I have followed and the ones left to take will help me understand what I am becoming.
- So many of the ideas on which our psychologists base their beliefs about human intelligence, memory, and learning are all wishful thinking.
- There are a lot of people who will give money or materials, but very few who will give time and affection.
- How many great problems have gone unsolved because men didn't know enough, or have enough faith in the creative process and in themselves, to let go for the whole mind to work at it?
- No one really starts anything new, Mrs Nemur. Everyone builds on other men's failures. There is nothing really original in science. What each man contributes to the sum of knowledge is what counts.
- We learn what something is not — and that is as important as a positive discovery to the man who is going to pick up from there. At least he knows what not to do.
- Intelligence alone doesn't mean a damned thing. Here in your university, intelligence, education, knowledge, have all become great idols. But I know now there's one thing you've all overlooked: intelligence and education that hasn't been tempered by human affection isn't worth a damn.
- Don't misunderstand me," I said. "Intelligence is one of the greatest human gifts. But all too often a search for knowledge drives out the search for love. This is something else I've discovered for myself very recently. I present it to you as a hypothesis: Intelligence without the ability to give and receive affection leads to mental and moral breakdown, to neurosis, and possibly even psychosis. And I say that the mind absorbed in and involved in itself as a self-centered end, to the exclusion of human relationships, can only lead to violence and pain.
- I am afraid. Not of life, or death, or nothingness, but of wasting it as if I had never been.
- As when men to keep from being swept overboard in the storm clutch at each other's hands to resist being torn apart, so our bodies fused a link in the human chain that kept us from being swept into nothing.
- You don't know what it's like to have something happening inside you, that you can't see and can't control, and know it's all slipping through your fingers.