On the Waterfront

Quotes

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 3

Terry:   “Hey, you wanna hear my philosophy of life? Do it to him before he does it to you.”

The night after Terry and Edie walk through the park, Edie finds Terry on the rooftop tending to the pigeons, including Joey’s. Curious about his sensitive side, she agrees to go with him to a saloon, where they have an intimate and revealing conversation. Terry’s statement here indicates the huge philosophical gap between him and Edie. This gap makes their developing relationship all the more powerful, because to understand each other they must attempt to understand an unfamiliar and even unsavory way of living and thinking. Terry’s words summarize a lifetime of being pushed around and having to scrap for every morsel and every bit of self-confidence. In Edie’s worldview, everybody cares about everybody else, while Terry visualizes a dog-eat-dog world in which people do what they have to do in order to survive.