John Irving Quotes (124 Quotes)


    I don't want you to describe to me-not ever-what you were doing to that poor boy to make him sound like that; but if you ever do it again, please cover his mouth with your hand.

    She drew the line at television. It took no effort to watch - it was infinitely more beneficial to the soul, and to the intelligence, to read or to listen - and what she imagined there was on TV appalled her.

    He wanted to take Homer Wells in his arms, and hug him, and kiss him, but he could only hope that Homer understood how much Dr. Larch's self-esteem was dependent on his self-control.

    When time passes, it's the people who knew you whom you want to see; they're the ones you can talk to. When enough time passes, what's it matter what they did to you?



    I have learned that the consequences of our past actions are always interesting; I have learned to view the present with a forward-looking eye.

    THAT'S WHAT POWERFUL MEN DO TO THIS COUNTRY - IT'S A BEAUTIFUL, SEXY, BREATHLESS COUNTRY, AND POWERFUL MEN USE IT TO TREAT THEMSELVES TO A THRILL! THEY SAY THEY LOVE IT BUT THEY DON'T MEAN IT. THEY SAY THINGS TO MAKE THEMSELVES APPEAR GOOD - THEY MAKE THEMSELVES APPEAR MORAL...THE COUNTRY WANTS A SAVIOUR. THE COUNTRY IS A SUCKER FOR POWERFUL MEN WHO LOOK GOOD. WE THINK THEY'RE MORALISTS AND THEN THEY JUST USE US.

    Homer and Candy passed by the empty and brightly lit dispensary; they peeked into Nurse Angela's empty office. Homer knew better than to peek into the delivery room when the light was on. From the dormitory, they could hear Dr. Larch's reading voice. Although Candy held tightly to his hand, Homer was inclined to hurry - in order not to miss the bedtime story.

    Wherever Melony went, she would not be without guidance, she would not be without love, without faith; she had a good book with her. If only she kept reading it and reading it...


    I think that was when the headmaster realized he had lost; he realized then that he was finished. Because, what could he do? Was he going to tell us to stop praying? We kept our heads bowed; and we kept praying. Even as awkward as he was, the Rev. Mr. Merrill had made it clear to us that there was no end to praying for Owen Meany.


    Homer Wells, listening to Big Dot Taft, felt like her voice - dulled. Wally was away, Candy was away, and the anatomy of a rabbit was, after Clara, no challenge; the migrants, whom he'd so eagerly anticipated, were just plain hard workers; life was just a job. He had grown up without noticing when? Was there nothing remarkable in the transition?


    In this dirty minded world, you are either someone's wife or someone's whore. And if you're not either people think there is something wrong with you....but there is nothing wrong with me

    I will tell you what is my overriding perception of the last twenty years: that we are a civilization careening toward a succession of anticlimaxes - toward an infinity of unsatisfying, and disagreeable endings.



    Human beings are remarkable - at what we can learn to live with. If we couldn't get strong from what we lose, and what we miss, and what we want and can't have, then we couldn't ever get strong enough, could we? What else makes us strong?


    If watching television doesn't hasten death, it surely manages to make death very inviting; for television so shamelessly sentimentalizes and romanticizes death that it makes the living feel they have missed something - just by staying alive.

    The White House, that whole criminal mob, those arrogant goons who see themselves as justified to operate above the law-they disgrace democracy by claiming that what they do they do for democracy! They should be in jail. They should be in Hollywood!





    There was no manifestation of contemporary culture that did not indicate to my grandmother how steadfast was the nation's decline, how merciless our mental and moral deterioration, how swiftly all-embracing our final decadence. I never saw her read a book again; but she referred to books often - as if they were shrines and cathedrals of learning that television had plundered and then abandoned.

    Is it a democratic society that condemns people to the accident of conception? What are we-monkeys? If you expect people to be responsible for their children, you have to give them the right to choose whether or not to have children. What are you people thinking of? You're not only crazy! You're ogres!



    A person's faith goes at its own pace. The trouble with church is the service. A service is conducted for a mass audience. Just when I start to like the hymn, everyone plops down to pray. Just when I start to hear the prayer, everyone pops up to sing. And what does the stupid sermon have to do with God? Who knows what God thinks of current events? Who cares?

    It is amazing to me, now, how such wild imaginings and philosophies - inspired by a night charged with frights and calamities - made such perfectly good sense to Owen Meany and me, but good friends are nothing to each other if they are not supportive.

    This was not of the nature of a Christlike lesson for Owen Meany to learn, as he lay in the manger, that someone you hate can give you a hard-on.

    It´s natural to want someone you love to do what you want, or what you think would be good for them, but you have to let everything happen to them. You can't interfere with people you love any more than you're supposed to interfere with people you don't even know. And that's hard, ..., because you often feel like interfering -you want to be the one who makes the plans.





    What do Americans know about morality? They don't want their presidents to have penises but they don't mind if their presidents covertly arrange to support the Nicaraguan rebel forces after Congress has restricted such aid; they don't want their presidents to deceive their wives but they don't mind if their presidents deceive Congress- lie to the people and violate the people's constitution!




    As it was, things went from bad to worse, as they often will when amateurs are involved in an activity that they perform in bad temper - or in a hurry.

    It's a no-win argument - that business of what we're born with and what our environment does to us. And it's a boring argument, because it simplifies the mysteries that attend both our birth and our growth.

    When I first came to Canada, I thought it was going to be easy to be a Canadian; like so many stupid Americans, I pictured Canada as simply some northern, colder, possibly more provincial region of the United States-I imagined it would be like moving to Maine, or Minnesota.

    It's natural to want someone you love to do what you want, or what you think would be good for them, but you can't interfere with people you love anymore than you're supposed to interfere with people you don't even know.


    Stewart, Jr. who was called Stewie Two, graduated from Steering before Garp was even of age to enter the school; Jenny treated Stewie Two twice for a sprained ankle and once for gonorrhea. He later went through Harvard Business School, a staph infection, and a divorce.

    Because I was a Wheelwright-and, therefore, a New England snob-I'd assumed that Phoenix was largely composed of Mormons and Baptists and Republicans;

    LAST NITE I HAD A DREAM. NOW I KNOW FOUR THINGS. I KNOW THAT MY VOICE DOESN'T CHANGE - BUT I STILL DON'T KNOW WHY. I KNOW THAT I AM GOD'S INSTRUMENT. I KNOW WHEN I'M GOING TO DIE - AND NOW A DREAM HAS SHOWN ME HOW I'M GOING TO DIE. I'M GOING TO BE A HERO! I TRUST THAT GOD WILL HELP ME, BECAUSE WHAT I'M SUPPOSED TO DO LOOKS VERY HARD.


    More John Irving Quotations (Based on Topics)


    People - Life - Love - World - Man - Time - Movies - Education - Thought & Thinking - Habit - Belief & Faith - Death & Dying - Kings & Queens - Environment - Age - Children - Writing - Mastery & Expertise - Performance Arts - View All John Irving Quotations

    More John Irving Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - A Prayer for Owen Meany
    - The Cider House Rules
    - The Hotel New Hampshire
    - The World According to Garp

    Related Authors


    Thomas Wolfe - Richard Bach - P. D. James - Louisa May Alcott - Jack Higgins - J. R. R. Tolkien - J. D. Salinger - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Emily Bronte - Boris Pasternak


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