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Earth Abides Quotes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 45 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Earth Abides.
This section contains 1,610 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)

"The heat of the afternoon lay heavy on the street, and he saw no one. 'Bad as a Mexican town,' he thought, 'everyone taking a siesta.' Then suddenly he realized that he said it as a man whistles to keep up his courage. He came to the business center, stopped the car by the curb, and got out. There was nobody."
Part 1, Chapter 1, Page 11

"It might have emerged from some animal reservoir of disease; it might be caused by some new microorganism, most likely a virus, produced by mutation; it might be an escape, possibly even a vindictive release, from some laboratory of biological warfare. The last was apparently the popular idea. The disease was assumed to be airborne, possibly upon particles of dust. A curious feature was that the isolation of the individual seemed to be of no avail."
Part 1, Chapter 1, Page 14

"I supposed,' he thought again, 'I ought to be considering suicide. No, too soon. I am alive, and so others probably are alive. We are just like gas molecules in a near vacuum, circulating around, one unable to make contact with the other.'"
Part 1, Chapter 1, Page 25

"Even if he found a shotgun and bushwhacked her boyfriend, she could offer only the grossest physical companionship, and at the thought of her he felt revulsion. As for the other girl - the young one - the only way to make her acquaintance would be by means of a lasso or a bear trap. And like the old man she would probably turn out to be crazy."
Part 1, Chapter 2, Page 37

"The surviving people, he found, were generally in singles, occasionally couples. They were anchored firmly in their own places. Sometimes they seemed to wish that he would stay there with them, but they never wished to accompany him. He still did not find any of them with whom he wished to share the future. If necessary, he thought, he could return."
Part 1, Chapter 3, Page 65

"They urged him to stay longer; they urged him even to stay permanently. He could certainly find himself a girl somewhere in New York, they said; she would make a fourth for bridge. They were the pleasantest people he had found since the catastrophe. Yet he had no desire to stay there with them, even if he could locate a girl for a fourth at bridge - and other things."
Part 1, Chapter 4, Page 75

"Other men had done differently. Even those who had drunk themselves to death had, in a sense, been partaking of life. But he himself, in observing what happened, had merely been rejecting life."
Part 1, Chapter 6, Page 97

"Though so much had happened, and even though he might be deeply moved by that great experience, yet still he was the observer - the man who sat by the side, watching what happened, never quite losing himself in the experience. The strangeness! In the old world it might well never have happened. Out of destruction had come, for him, love."
Part 1, Chapter 7, Page 105

"'Isn't that rather silly, too?' she said. 'I mean, starting out with a date in four figures. As far as I'm concerned,' she paused for a moment and looked around with that quiet air which sometimes was so impressive, 'as far as I'm concerned, this past year might as well be the Year One.'"
Part 1, Chapter 8, Page 125

"To be sure, you easily got all the steak you wanted, though it was tough. But you had continual trouble running into a cross bull when you were merely wanting to walk here or there. You could always shoot a bull, but shooting one near the houses either meant that you had to go to all the trouble of burying the carcass, or of dragging it away, or else you suffered from the smell. They all had to become adept at stepping quickly out of the way when a bull charged, and they came to make something of a sport of this, and to call it 'bull dodging.'"
Quick Years, Page 134

"'Why,' he thought, feeling the words flow through his mind, as if he were arguing aloud, 'why should I be the one who in times like this always has to start thinking ahead? Why am I the one that has to think, or try to think, five years or ten years, or twenty years into the future? I may not even be alive then! The people who come after me - they will have to solve their own problems.'"
Part 2, Chapter 1, Page 149

"Only Maurine accepted the situation philosophically. 'I growed up my first eighteen years on the old farm in South Dakota,' she said. 'I run out to the outhouse, all kinds of weather, and I never seen a flusher except maybe when I was in town on Saturdays. That was one of the things I liked best when pappy piled us into the old Chevy and we went to California. But I always felt it wouldn't last, and I'd end up a-runnin' out in all weathers, the way I began. Flushers was nice. But it's all over now, and I say, Thank the good Lord the weather ain't so cold here as in South Dakota.'"
Part 2, Chapter 2, Page 176

"Its repetitions were not those of a stolid child going over and over the multiplication table. History was an artist, maintaining the idea but changing the details, like a composer keeping the same theme but dulling it to a minor or lifting by an octave, now crooning it with violins, now blaring it on trumpets."
Part 2, Chapter 3, Page 189

"Everyone seemed to be turning serious work into a kind of play, as if unable to distinguish between work and play. That might sound fine, but you could not accomplish much, he thought, without settling down to labor."
Part 2, Chapter 3, Page 192

"The boys enjoyed drawing maps of the nearby country. But neither boys nor girls were interested in the geography of the world as a while. Who would blame them? Perhaps when Dick and Bob came back in the Jeep, there might be more interest. But just now, the children's horizon was limited to the few miles roundabout. What to them was the shape of Europe with all its peninsulas?"
Part 2, Chapter 4, Page 218

"Again and again Ish thought of that little incident in which the other children had been afraid to pick up the hammer, but had acquiesced in Joey's doing something that they themselves did not dare to do. Obviously, in their minds, there was some kind of power inherent in Joey. Ish thought far back to the times of his studies and he remembered the widespread belief that certain member of a tribe had a special power within them. Mana, the anthropologists had called it. Perhaps the children believed that Joey had mana; possibly Joey himself believed it."
Part 2, Chapter 5, Page 226

"After they had gone, Ish thought of something that he had not done during all those years. In fact, after he had decided to do it, he was not sure whether he still could. Yet when he went into the kitchen, he found that there was still a bolt on the back door."
Part 2, Chapter 7, Page 248

"'It is strange,' thought Ish. 'She has none of those things on which I used to count so much - not education, not eve high intelligence. She supplies no ideas. Yet she has a greatness within her and the final affirmation. Without her, in these last few weeks, we would have despaired and lost hold of life and gone under.' And he felt himself humble beside her."
Part 2, Chapter 8, Page 277

"If the Tribe needed a symbol of strength and unity, if they were happier with the hammer as a rallying point - who was he to enforce rationalism? Perhaps rationalism - like so much else - had only been one of the luxuries which men could afford under civilization."
Part 2, Chapter 8, Page 284

"Within a week the air around the houses seemed to be fully of badly shot arrows. Mothers began to worry about lost eyesight, and two children came in crying after having received arrows in various parts of their anatomies. But since the arrows were headless and shot from weak bows, no real harm resulted."
Part 2, Chapter 9, Page 300

"As he went into the bathroom, he stretched out his right hand, and flipped the electric lightswitch. It made the familiar click and suddenly the room was brilliant to his eyes. Then after a moment he found himself in the half-darkness of dawn again, and realized the electric light had not flashed on. I had not so flashed for years, and would never again - and the familiar click had merely fooled his old brain, so that for a moment the room had seemed light. And this did not bother him because it had thus happened before."
Part 3, Chapter 2, Page 324

"One of them, apparently out of mere habit, began to make a fire with a bow-drill. But the others laughed at him, and soon gathered together some still glowing and smoldering sticks from where the fire has swept through."
Part 3, Chapter 3, Page 335

"But Ish at least was glad that he was no great burden upon them; in fact, one of them said that to carry the hammer was as heavy a load as to carry Ish himself."
Part 3, Chapter 3, Page 339

"Jack picked up the hammer, and stood with it dangling from his right hand. The other three then drew off a little, and Ish felt within himself a strange pang of sorrow for the young man to whom the hammer had descended."
Part 3, Chapter 4, Page 343

This section contains 1,610 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
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