“You going to traipse all around like you have to find something lost. You going to work yourself up with excitement. You heart going to beat hard enough to kill you because you don’t love and don’t have peace. And then someday you going to bust loose and be ruined. Won’t nothing help you then. ”
Our desperate search for something certain, something bigger than ourselves, even though it’s just another lie. At His knees, those who known uttered their prays, “Lord, bestow upon me the strength to stop believing in and seeking for the truth. ”
“And then he will place His Holy hand upon our heads and straightaway us will be white as button.”
“She’s at least ten shades blacker than I is and she is the ugliest nigger I’ve ever seen. ”
“He felt the old evil anger in him. The words rose inchoately to his throat but he could not speak them. Yet to words of reason they do not attend. If he could not speak the whole long truth no other words would come to him. “
“But the main thing he sees is that the whole system of the world is built on a lie. Even though it’s plain as the shining sun, the don’t-knows have lived with the lie so long they just can’t see it. “
“It was like the inside room was locked somewhere away from her. ” “Else what the hell good had it all been- the way she felt about music and the plans she had made in the inside room? It had to be some good if anything made sense. ”
“Of the endless passage of human struggle through endless time. And of those who labor and of those - one word- love."
And they were all “suspended between radiance and darkness, between bitter irony and faith. ” They were all on their to a endpoint and as all those before them and behind them had no turning back. They were all pawns and foot soldiers in a grand game that has been played since the advent of civilization, and they entered the game willingly, one way or another.
The experience was illuminatingly strange, in Ms. MacCullers’s own words, flung out of the ordinary concept of time. You may finish it in an hour, a day, a week or a year. You may skip or shuffle chapters after the first half and still get a complete sense of continuity and flow as you know this is not a story of unexpected twists and turns. Instead, despite its throttling abruptness against the unique social and political background, you see the consistency and predictability in terms of how people ended up where they were and why they did what they did.
However misleading the intros on major online bookstore are, this is less of a romantic story than of an impartial discussion about existential crisis of “those who labor and those who love”. I venture the reason why the latter part is often cut out from it to represent the whole story is out of romantic wish-fullness, because after all there’s nothing else that feels more real than that.