What makes a great quote?

Posted: July 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

I have been recently reading Tolstoy. He certainly had a way with words and weaving a story much more than I ever gave him credit for when I first read his words. Along with his work I have been exploring quotes from some of my favorite books – Le Petit Prince, Catcher in the Rye, Alice in Wonderland, etc…

These two facets of explorations have lead me to dig deep into the loveliness of quotes. Some are really really beautiful in just a few words. And it got me to thinking.. what makes a great quote? Is it the syntax of words? Is it the context? Is it the feeling behind the words when the author wrote them, sometimes many moons ago? What is it?

For example Alice in Wonderland quote “Curiouser and curiouser!” I love that quote but I have also read that book and watched adaptations of the story numerous times so do I love the quote because of the context because I love the story and the absurdity of it all? I mean it is only 3 words and an bit of punctuation.

Then I look to some of Tolstoy’s work. I have by far not read all of his work.. it takes a bit of brain power with some of his stuff! So I find a quote of his “Boredom: the desire for desires.” How awesome is that? I mean doesn’t that just nail what boredom is to such perfection it gives you goosebumps?? I mean it is perfect! I dont know which bit of work it came from until I looked up that it appears in one of his short stories.

Oh by the way.. an awesome short story of his is “What Men Live By…” it totally sucks you in.

Anyway back to Boredom of the definition of it. 5 words.. again another bit of punctuation. Wait could it be the punctuation.. naw… But how long did it take Tolstoy to connect those 5 words? Did it just pop into his noodle? Did he have multiple drafts? Did he run it by anyone? What makes it so perfect, how do people write such perfect that stands the test of time? How many more quotes are left there undiscovered in this word for me to find?

Basically… words are awesome. I may never know what makes a great quote but frankly do I even want to know… or do I just want to continue to grow in the love of words.


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