Once Ed said to me, “For a very long time I didn’t like myself.” It was not said in self-pity but simply as an unfortunate fact. “It was a very difficult time,” he said, “and very painful. I did not like myself for a number of reasons, some of them valid and some of them pure fancy. I would hate to have to go back to that. Then gradually,” he said, “I discovered with surprise and pleasure that a number of people did like me. And I thought, if they can like me, why cannot I like myself? Just thinking it did not do it, but slowly I learned to like myself and then it was all right.” This was not said in self-love in its bad connotation but in self-knowledge. He meant literally that he had learned to accept and like the person “Ed” as he liked other people. It gave him a great advantage. Most people do not like themselves at all. They distrust themselves, put on masks and pomposities. They quarrel and boast and pretend and are jealous because they do not like themselves. But mostly they do not even know themselves well enough to form a true liking. They cannot see themselves well enough to form a true liking, and since we automatically fear and dislike strangers, we fear and dislike our stranger-selves.
Mr. Benedict: "After I woke up and composed myself, however, I realized the flowers must certainly be yours, Constance, to do with as you please. At any rate -- " Mr.Benedict broke off, for just then Constance jumped to her feet, snatched the bouquet from his desk, and hurled it into the wastebasket with all the force she could muster -- so hard that flower petals flew up out of the wastebasket like tiny pink butterflies. Then placing her hands against the wall to steady herself, she stomped one foot repeatedly into the wastebasket as if trying to put out a fire. "I see we are of the same opinion," said Mr. Benedict as Constance returned to her seat, and the others congratulated her on her judgment.
Keesha looked at me for a long time. "I did leave you alone. We all did. But you didn't get better. You didn't stop. You're still doin' all your weird shit. And I think it's time to stop.""You think it's time to stop!" I exploded, and lunged at her with my hands outstretched. I pushed her real hard. She almost fell down. "I don't care what time you think it is!" I screamed. "Do you think I want to do this! Do you think I like it?""You pushed me!""Yeah. So what?""You're so afraid of being interrupted that you pushed me!""I'm not scared of being interrupted, you jerk! I'm . . . I'm scared . . . I'm scared of being." I crumpled into a ball and sat down where I was standing. I sat on a crack. Unevenly."Who are you anymore, Tara?"Tears spilled over my frozen lashes and disappeared across my cheekbones. I had never felt so defeated. "I don't know.
I have known many true connoisseurs, with excellent tastes that range across the humanities and the culinary arts--and they never fail to have a fatal effect on my self-esteem. When I find myself sitting at dinner next to someone who knows just as much about novels as I do but has somehow also found the mental space to adore and be knowledgeable about the opera, have strong opinions about the relative rankings of Renaissance painters, an encyclopedic knowledge of the English civil war, of French wines--I feel an anxiety that nudges beyond the envious into the existential. How did she find the time?
Vimes shook some lather off the blade. "Hah! I bet they have. Tell me, Willikins, did you fight much when you were a kid? Were you in a gang or anything?""I was privileged to belong to the Shamlegger Street Rude Boys, sir," said the butler."Really?" said Vimes, genuinely impressed. "They were pretty tough nuts, as I recall.""Thank you, sir," said Willikins smoothly. "I pride myself I used to give somewhat more than I got if we needed to discuss the vexed area of turf issues with the young men from Rope Street. Stevedore's hooks were their weapon of choice, as I recall.""And yours...?" said Vimes, agog."A cap-brim sewn with sharpened pennies, sir. An ever-present help in times of trouble.""Ye gods, man! You could put someone's eye out with something like that.""With care, sir, yes," said Willikins, meticulously folding a towel.
You know what?' said Vimes aloud. 'This is going to be the world's first democratically killed dragon. One man, one stab.'Then you've got to stop them. You can't let them kill it!' said Lady Ramkin.Vimes blinked at her.Pardon?' he said.It's wounded!'Lady, that was the intention, wasn't it? Anyway, it's only stunned,' said Vimes.I mean you can't let them kill it like this,' said Lady Ramkin insistently. 'Poor thing!'What do you want to do, then?' demanded Vimes, his temper unravelling. 'Give it a strengthening dose of tar oil and a nice comfy basket in front of the stove?'It's butchery!'Suits me fine!'But it's a dragon! It's just doing what a dragon does! It never would have come here if people had left it alone!'Vimes thought: it was about to eat her, and she can still think like this. He hesitated. Perhaps that did give you the right to an opinion...
He pulled my skirt up. I began to worry. Everyone knew he had broken in girls before and I didn't want it to happen to me. I said, 'No. Get off, please.' He pulled me down the alley and pushed me to the ground. As I lay on my back worrying about my new blue coat, he pushed his fingers up between my legs — and rammed himself into me.I was crying. His lips were pressed against mine but I was motionless, like a small corpse. He grunted and I knew it was over. He got up, I just lay there on the ground, my tights round my ankles. The clock was striking twelve.As he walked away, he turned and said, 'I've always wanted to do it to you. I like your mouth'.When I got in, my mum said, 'Tracey, what's wrong with you?' I showed her my coat, the dirt and the stains, and told her 'I'm not a virgin any more.' She didn't call the police or make any fuss. She just washed my coat and everything carried on as normal, as though nothing had happened.But for me, my childhood was over, I had become conscious of my physicality, aware of my presence and open to the ugly truths of the world. At the age of thirteen, I realised that there was a danger in innocence and beauty, and I could not live with both.(describing childhood rape)
Hello, little girl," he said, which was only his first big mistake. "I'm sure you want to know all about hedgehogs, eh?""I did this one last year," said Tiffany.The man looked closer, and his grin faded. "Oh, yes," he said. "I remember. You asked all those... little questions.""I would like a question answered today," said Tiffany."Provided it's not one about how you get baby hedgehogs," said the man."No," said Tiffany patiently. "It's about zoology.""Zoology, eh? That's a big word, isn't it.""No, actually it isn't," said Tiffany. "Patronizing is a big word. Zoology is really quite small.
But we left camp after a while and we was driving in a real spooky place cause all the roads up near camp are dark and in the woods and we had to drive for a while to get to a highway cause there was no street lights or anything and nothing but woods and my dad asked me if I had a good time and I told him I did, but that’s really a lie and I felt like telling him what it was like at that mean old camp, but I thought he’d get mad and tell me I’m making it up and I thought I’d tell him some other time like Febuary and cause I didn’t think he’d believe me anyway, but so I changed my mind and then I thought I should tell him now cause he’ll wonder howcome I never told him sooner, so when he said that’s a nasty gash and when he said what did I do, stumble on the trail and hit a big rock or something? I told him no and I told him that lots of bad things happened to me at camp and that I never want to go there again cause I hate it and I almost cried. But he said I always had a bibid emigination cause he’s sure it wasn’t that bad! And I don’t know about those big words either, but what he said made me kind of mad cause grownups always think they know what happened to you better than you do yourself.
I heard this story once," she said, "where this bloke got locked up for years and years and he learned amazin' stuff about the universe and everythin' from another prisoner who was incredibly clever, and then he escaped and got his revenge.""What incredibly clever stuff do you know about the universe, Gytha Ogg?" said Granny."Bugger all," said Nanny cheerfully."Then we'd better bloody well escape right now.
We're dealing here," said Vimes, "With a twisted mind.""Oh, no! You think so?""Yes.""But... no... you can't be right. Because Nobby was with us all the time.""Not Nobby," said Vimes testily. "Whatever he might do to a dragon, I doubt if he'd make it explode. There's stranger people in this world than Corporal Nobbs, my lad."Carrot's expression slid into a rictus of intrigued horror."Gosh," he said.
Small animals are a great problem. I wish God had never created small animals, or else that He had made them so they could talk, or else that He'd given them better faces. Space. Take moths. They fly at the lamp and burn themsleves, and then they fly right back again. It can't be instinct, because it isn't the way it works. They just don't understand, so they go right on doing it. Then they lie on their backs and all their legs quiver, and then they're dead. Did you get all that? Does it sound good?""Very good," Grandmother said.Sophia stood up and shouted, "Say this: say I hate everything that dies slow! Say I hate everything that won't let you help! Did you write that?
Fortune favours the brave, sir," said Carrot cheerfully."Good. Good. Pleased to hear it, captain. What is her position vis a vis heavily armed, well prepared and excessively manned armies?""Oh, no–one's ever heard of Fortune favouring them, sir.""According to General Tacticus, it's because they favour themselves," said Vimes. He opened the battered book. Bits of paper and string indicated his many bookmarks. "In fact, men, the general has this to say about ensuring against defeat when outnumbered, out–weaponed and outpositioned. It is..." he turned the page, "'Don't Have a Battle.'""Sounds like a clever man," said Jenkins. He pointed to the yellow horizon."See all that stuff in the air?" he said. "What do you think that is?""Mist?" said Vimes."Hah, yes. Klatchian mist! It's a sandstorm! The sand blows about all the time. Vicious stuff. If you want to sharpen your sword, just hold it up in the air.""Oh.""And it's just as well because otherwise you'd see Mount Gebra. And below it is what they call the Fist of Gebra. It's a town but there's a bloody great fort, walls thirty feet thick. 's like a big city all by itself. 's got room inside for thousands of armed men, war elephants, battle camels, everything. And if you saw that, you'd want me to turn round right now. Whats your famous general got to say about it, eh?""I think I saw something..." said Vimes. He flicked to another page. "Ah, yes, he says, 'After the first battle of Sto Lat, I formulated a policy which has stood me in good stead in other battles. It is this: if the enemy has an impregnable stronghold, see he stays there.'""That's a lot of help," said Jenkins.Vimes slipped the book into a pocket."So, Constable Visit, there's a god on our side, is there?""Certainly, sir.""But probably also a god on their side as well?""Very likely, sir. There's a god on every side.""Let's hope they balance out, then.
But that wasn't the chief thing that bothered me: I couldn't reconcile myself with that preoccupation with sin that, so far as I could tell, was never entirely absent from the monks' thoughts. I'd known a lot of fellows in the air corps. Of course they got drunk when they got a chance, and had a girl whenever they could and used foul language; we had one or two had hats: one fellow was arrested for passing rubber cheques and was sent to prison for six months; it wasn't altogether his fault; he'd never had any money before, and when he got more than he'd ever dreamt of having, it went to his head. I'd known had men in Paris and when I got back to Chicago I knew more, but for the most part their badness was due to heredity, which they couldn't help, or to their environment, which they didn't choose: I'm not sure that society wasn't more responsible for their crimes than they were. If I'd been God I couldn't have brought myself to condemn one of them, not even the worst, to eternal damnation. Father Esheim was broad-minded; he thought that hell was the deprivation of God's presence, but if that is such an intolerable punishment that it can justly be called hell, can one conceive that a good God can inflict it? After all, he created men, if he so created them that ti was possible for them to sin, it was because he willed it. If I trained a dog to fly at the throat of any stranger who came into by back yard, it wouldn't be fair to beat him when he did so.If an all-good and all-powerful God created the world, why did he create evil? The monks said, so that man by conquering the wickedness in him, by resisting temptation, by accepting pain and sorrow and misfortune as the trials sent by God to purify him, might at long last be made worthy to receive his grace. It seem to me like sending a fellow with a message to some place and just to make it harder for him you constructed a maze that he had to get through, then dug a moat that he had to swim and finally built a wall that he had to scale. I wasn't prepared to believe in an all-wise God who hadn't common sense. I didn't see why you shouldn't believe in a God who hadn't created the world, buyt had to make the best of the bad job he'd found, a being enormously better, wiser and greater than man, who strove with the evil he hadn't made and who might be hoped in the end to overcome it. But on the other hand I didn't see why you should.
I open my eyes and for the first time stare openly at my own reflection. My heart rate picks up as I do, like I am breaking the rules and will be scolded for it. It will be difficult to break the habits of thinking Abnegation instilled in me, like tugging a single thread from a complex work of embroidery. But I will find new habits, new thoughts, new rules. I will become something else. …Looking at myself now isn’t like seeing myself for the first time; it’s like seeing someone else for the first time. Beatrice was a girl I saw in stolen moments at the mirror, who kept quiet at the dinner table. This is someone whose eyes claim mine and don’t release me; this is Tris.
EdgesI am a child throwing rocks into the stream.Challenging the rushing water.Raising my fist and daring fate to do it worst.I am a dancer in the waves of the ocean.Swaying in time with the tide.Pirouetting, the current my only friend.I am the sun, rising across the canyonAscending, and shinning down.Giving the illusion of perception and motion.I am thoughts like a rolling river.Water cascading over the rocks of my soul.Shaping, forming, conforming.I am the peace of the rain forest.Basking in solitudeTranquil, serene, transfixing angles.Reflecting from within.Dripping and dropping. Shaking it off.I am the dust of the galaxy.Yearning to know itself.I am the wind.Wandering. Searching.A storm brewing from within.
I had no illusions about you,' he said. 'I knew you were silly and frivolous and empty-headed. But I loved you. I knew that your aims and ideals were vulgar and commonplace. But I loved you. I knew that you were second-rate. But I loved you. It's comic when I think how hard I tried to be amused by the things that amused you and how anxious I was to hide from you that I wasn't ignorant and vulgar and scandal-mongering and stupid. I knew how frightened you were of intelligence and I did everything I could to make you think me as big a fool as the rest of the men you knew. I knew that you'd only married me for convenience. I loved you so much, I didn't care. Most people, as far as I can see, when they're in love with someone and the love isn't returned feel that they have a grievance. They grow angry and bitter. I wasn't like that. I never expected you to love me, I didn't see any reason that you should. I never thought myself very lovable. I was thankful to be allowed to love you and I was enraptured when now and then I thought you were pleased with me or when I noticed in your eyes a gleam of good-humored affection. I tried not to bore you with my love; I knew I couldn't afford to do that and I was always on the lookout for the first sign that you were impatient with my affection. What most husbands expect as a right I was prepared to receive as a favor.
Wait a second," Four says. I turn toward him, wondering which version of Four I'll see now-the one who scolds me, or the one who climbs Ferris wheels with me. He smiles a little, but the smile doesn't spread to his eyes, which look less tense and worried."You belong here, you know that?" he says. "You belong with us. It'll be over soon, so just hold on, okay?"He scratches behind his ear and looks away, like he's embarrassed by what he said. I stare at him. I feel my heartbeat everywhere, even in my toes. I feel like doing something bold, but I could just as easily walk away. I am not sure which option is smarter, or better. I am not sure that I care.I reach out and take his hand. His fingers slide between mine. I can't breathe. I stare up at him, and he stares down at me. For a long moment, we stay that way. Then I pull my hand away and run after Uriah and Lynn and Marlene. Maybe now he thinks I'm stupid, or strange. Maybe it was worth it.
Why not? It's true. My best hope is to not disgrace myself and..." He hesitates.And what?" I say.I don't know how to say it exactly. Only... I want to die as myself. Does that make any sense?" he asks. I shake my head. How could he die as anyone but himself? "I don't want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I'm not."I bite my lip feeling inferior. While I've been ruminating on the availability of trees, Peeta has been struggling with how to maintain his identity. His purity of self. "Do you mean you won't kill anyone?" I ask.No, when the time comes, I'm sure I'll kill just like everybody else. I can't go down without a fight. Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to... to show the Capitol they don't own me. That I'm more than just a piece in their Games," says Peeta.But you're not," I say. "None of us are. That's how the Games work."Okay, but within that frame work, there's still you, there's still me," he insists. "Don't you see?"A little, Only... no offense, but who cares, Peeta?" I say.I do. I mean what else am I allowed to care about at this point?" he asks angrily. He's locked those blue eyes on mine now, demanding an answer.