Tag Archives: dickens

Quote About Iron or Gold, Thorns or Flowers from Great Expectations

“Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”

Hey, 3.5 readers.

I’ve found that generally speaking, a lousy life isn’t the result of one mistake but a series of mistakes, a pattern of doing dumb things repeated over and over, time and time again.

Then again, when I look back, there have been some crucial blunders, some things where I think, “Wow, it was a no brainer to have done or not done something.”

Charles Dickens, who periodically stopped his books to talk to his readers right in the middle of his prose, once asked his readers to think about the one day where something happened that put them on a path to greatness or sorrow.

Have you ever had a day like that?

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Top Ten Quotes from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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#10 – “I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.”

#9 – “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before-more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”

#8 – “We need never be ashamed of our tears.”

#7 – “Love her, love her, love her! If she favours you, love her. If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces – and as it gets older and stronger, it will tear deeper – love her, love her, love her!”

#6 – “Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since – on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real, or more impossible to displace with your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be. Estella, to the last hour of my life, you cannot choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil. But, in this separation I associate you only with the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you must have done me far more good than harm, let me feel now what sharp distress I may. O God bless you, God forgive you!”

#5 – “The unqualified truth is, that when I loved Estella with the love of a man, I loved her simply because I found her irresistible. Once for all; I knew to my sorrow, often and often, if not always, that I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be. Once for all; I love her none the less because I knew it, and it had no more influence in restraining me, than if I had devoutly believed her to be human perfection.”

#4 – “I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.”

#3 – “That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”

#2 – “I looked at the stars, and considered how awful it would be for a man to turn his face up to them as he froze to death, and see no help or pity in all the glittering multitude.”

#1 – “You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since-on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with.”

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Bookshelf Battle Cast – Episode 003 – “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens – Stave 3 – The Second of the Three Spirits – Analysis and Discussion Questions

vintage-1705170_1280Scrooge’s reckoning with his crusty ways continues, though his ghostly visitor is more pleasant this time.  The Ghost of Christmas Present is a big ass baller, a giant of a man, full of food and drink, joviality and laughter, tooling around in a fine robe with a wreath on his head, hardly a care in the world.

Yes, the present is the best time to be in.  The past is unchangeable and thus to think of it can lead to regret.  The future is unknown.  The only time we can be effective in is now…right now…before right now becomes the past…oh no, now just became the past, oh no it happened again, but wait the next moment is in the future, it’s in the present and oh, crap, it’s in the past again.

See how quickly life moves?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

#1 – The Ghost of Christmas Present states that all sorts of things happen “in his name” i.e. hatred, bigotry and so on but urges Scrooge to charge these wrongdoings to those who would perpetrate them, not the ghost.  What does the ghost mean by this?

#2 – Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present visit the Cratchitts and see how happy this poor, not very handsome family is, despite the fact that they all live lives of hard labor, meager wages and little ability to improve their situation.  Scrooge is then taken on a tour where he finds miners, light house keepers and others working dismal jobs in the worst locales are all having a grand time.  Scrooge has fat stacks of cash yet he is miserable, whereas there are so many carefree poor people.  What gives?  What is the message Dickens is trying to tell us?

#3 – Tiny Tim is the epitome of man’s ability to change the future by acting in the present…before an ill fate becomes written into the past.  Scrooge must act now in the present to help Tiny Tim, to provide the family with the money needed to get Tim extra care, medicine, and help.  If Scrooge does not act now, Tiny Tim will die, and all that will remain is a memorialized little crutch in the corner of his family’s home.

Are there any warning signs in your life of a dismal future if swift, decisive action is not taken now?  Consider what negative fates might befall you or those you love if a negative situation is not change.  Do you foresee a way in which change is possible?  What steps will you take to make positive change happen?

#4 – The Ghost of Christmas Present reveals that two “children” have been clinging to him all this time – “Ignorance” and “Want.”  These two children or rather, states, mess up the present something awful.  When people are ignorant, i.e., stupid they make bad decisions that lead to a destroyed future.  Often, bad decisions are made in the name of “want,” i.e. people who covet material possessions over positive life experiences.

What will you do to rid your life of ignorance and want?

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