I came across this AskReddit prompt the other day that made me think:
‘What’s something a fictional character has said that’s really stuck with you?’
About a thousand things popped into my head in response. Fiction has such a seismic power, all through our lives but often especially in our formative years, to shake up our perception and tear up the foundations of our being and to wedge ideas and thoughts deep down inside. Story-telling is after all how we shape ourselves as a culture, how we mould ourselves as individuals and how we conceptualise those individuals as existing in the delicate ecology of others that we call society.
I don’t know.
All I know is that a multitude of ideas immediately swirled around inside my head when I read that prompt. Picking some to put in here was like waiting for a roulette wheel to stop. There’s too many to count, but here are just three quotes from fictional characters that have always stuck with me:
Lester Freamon from The Wire:
A life, Jimmy, you know what that is? It’s what happens while you’re waiting for moments that never come.
Dmitri ‘Mitya’ Fyodorovich Karamazov from The Brothers Karamazov:
I think I could stand anything, any suffering, only to be able to say and to repeat to myself every moment, ‘I exist.’ In thousands of agonies — I exist. I’m tormented on the rack — but I exist! Though I sit alone in a pillar — I exist! I see the sun, and if I don’t see the sun, I know it’s there. And there’s a whole life in that, in knowing that the sun is there.
And Tyler Durden:
Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.
And that was just this brief moment. Even while I was writing this down, more were crowding into my head, wanting to come rushing out. In the interests of brevity though it’s best to leave those there. You can check out the full AskReddit thread here, but below are some highlights:
Header Image Source: Warner Bros.