Important Quotations Explained
the age of twelve, before I had had one full year of formal schooling,
I had . . . a conviction that the meaning of living came only when
one was struggling to wring a meaning out of meaningless suffering.
At the age of twelve I had an attitude toward life that was to .
. . make me skeptical of everything while seeking everything, tolerant
of all and yet critical . . . that could only keep alive in me that
enthralling sense of wonder and awe in the face of the drama of
human feeling which is hidden by the external drama of life.
concluded the book with the conviction that I had somehow overlooked
something terribly important in life. I had once tried to write,
had once reveled in feeling, had let my crude imagination roam,
but the impulse to dream had been slowly beaten out of me by experience.
Now it surged up again and I hungered for books, new ways of looking
too-young and too-new America . . . insists upon seeing the world
in terms of good and bad, the holy and the evil, the high and the
low, the white and the black. . . . It hugs the easy way of damning
those whom it cannot understand, of excluding those who look different,
and it salves its conscience with a self-draped cloak of righteousness.
Am I damning my native land? No; for I, too, share these faults
life as a Negro in America had led me to feel . . . that the problem
of human unity was more important than bread, more important than
physical living itself; for I felt that without a common bond uniting
men . . . there could be no living worthy of being called human.
would make his life more intelligible to others than it was to himself.
I would reclaim his disordered days and cast them into a form that
people could grasp, see, understand, and accept.
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