Top 100

Top 500 Cormac McCarthy Quotes (2023 Update)
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Cormac McCarthy Quote: “There’s no such thing as life without bloodshed,” McCarthy says philosophically. “I think the notion that the species can be improved in some way, that everyone could live in harmony, is a really dangerous idea. Those who are afflicted with this notion are the first ones to give up their souls, their freedom. Your desire that it be that way will enslave you and make your life vacuous.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “The survivors lay quietly in that cratered void and watched the whitehot stars go rifling down the dark. Or slept with their alien hearts beating in the sand like pilgrims exhausted upon the face of the planet Anareta, clutched to a namelessness wheeling in the night.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “What loomed was a flayed man with his brisket tacked open like a cooling beef and his skull peeled, blue and bulbous and palely luminescent, black grots his eyeholes and bloody mouth gaped tongueless. The traveler had seized his fingers in his jaws, but it was not alone this horror that he cried. Beyond the flayed man dimly adumbrate another figure paled, for his surgeons move about the world even as you and I.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “In the nights sometimes now he’d wake in the back and freezing waste out of softly colored worlds of human love, the songs of birds, the sun.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “A dream inside a dream might not be a dream.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “Things separate from their stories have no meaning. They are only shapes.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “A dead man’s dog ain’t got a name.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “Housecats is smart too. Smarter’n a dog or a mule. Folks thinks they ain’t on account of you cain’t learn em nothin, but what it is is that they won’t learn nothin. They too smart.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “Forty minutes later he saw her and stopped and sat the horse and watched. She was riding along a red dirt ridge to the south sitting with her hands crossed on the pommel, looking toward the last of the sun, the horse slogging slowly through the loose sandy dirt, the red stain of it following them in the still air. That’s my heart yonder, he told the horse. It always was.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “He thought the world’s heart beat at some terrible cost and that the world’s pain and its beauty moved in a relationship of diverging equity and that in this headlong deficit the blood of multitudes might ultimately be exacted for the vision of a single flower.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “I think sometimes people would rather have a bad answer about things than no answer at all.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “Ich kann nicht anders.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “Nineteen is old enough to know that if you have got somethin that means the world to you it’s all that more likely it’ll get took away. Sixteen was, for that matter.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “This is a dog. He is dead too. This.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “The mother dead these fourteen years did incubate in her own bosom the creature who would carry her off.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “The soul might be silent but the servant of the soul has always got a voice and it has got one for a reason.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “Maybe. Anyway, some men get what they want. No man. Or perhaps only briefly so as to lose it. Or perhaps only to prove to the dreamer that the world of his longing made real is no longer that world at all.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “He said that like every man who comes to the end of something there was nothing to be done but to begin again.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “You might change your mind about what you hate to leave, he said.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “Suttree ducked the yardlong coil of dead flies that hung from the ceiling and came to the counter with his purchases.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “Even the damned in hell have the community of their suffering.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “I don’t know what sort of world she will live in and I have no fixed opinions concerning how she should live in it. I only know that if she does not come to value what is true above what is useful, it will make little difference whether she lives at all.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “A person who had no one would be well advised to cobble together some passable ghost. Breathe it into being and coax it along with words of love. Offer it each phantom crumb and shield it from harm with your body.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “The kid looked at the man. His head was strangely narrow and his hair was plastered up with mud in a bizarre and primitive coiffure. On his forehead were burned the letters H T and lower and almost between the eyes the letter F and these markings were splayed and garish as if the iron had been left too long. When he turned to look at the kid the kid could see that he had no ears.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “It howled execration upon the dim camarine world of its nativity wail on wail while he lay there gibbering with palsied jawhasps, his hands putting back the night like some witless Paraclete beleaguered with all limbo’s clamor.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “Where in this pukehole can a man get a drink? he said.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “What do you think death is, man? Of whom do we speak when we speak of a man who was and is not? Are these blind riddles or are they not some part of every man’s jurisdiction? What is death if not an agency? And whom does he intend toward?”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “There ain’t no law in Mexico. It’s just a pack of rogues.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “All through the long dusk.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “What is true of one man, said the judge, is true of many.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “A constellation of ignited eyes that edged the ring of light all bound in a precarious truce before this torch whose brightness had set back the stars in their sockets.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “What you wants with these goats anyway? Little or nothin. Good fresh milk. God’s best cheese. You have any other animals? said Suttree. Dog or anything? No. Just goats. I think a feller gets started with goats he just more or less sticks to goats.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “The facade of the building bore an array of saints in their niches and they had been shot up by American troops trying their rifles, the figures shorn of ears and noses and darkly mottled with leadmarks oxidized upon the stone.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “Summer was full on and the nights hot. It was like lying in warm syrup there in the dark under the viaduct, in the steady whine of gnats and nightbugs.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “But I will tell you Squire that having read even a few dozen books in common is a force more binding than blood.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “He rode out in the dark long before daylight and he rode the sun up and he rode it down again. In the oncoming years a terrible drought struck west Texas. He moved on. There was no work in that country anywhere. Pasture gates stood open and sand drifted in the roads and after a few years it was rare to see stock of any kind and he rode on. Days of the world. Years of the world. Till he was old.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “The boy was sitting quietly on the bunk, still wrapped in the blanket, watching. The man thought he had probably not fully committed himself to any of this. You could wake in the dark wet woods at any time.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “They stood among their horses in the squalid little alameda while the wind ransacked the trees and the birds nesting in the gray twilight cried out and clutched the limbs and the snow swirled and blew across the little square and shrouded the shapes of the mud buildings beyond and made mute the cries of the vendors who’d followed them.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “Our waking life’s desire to shape the world to our convenience invites all manner of paradox and difficulty. All in our custody seethes with an inner restlessness. But in dreams we stand in this great democracy of the possible and there we are right pilgrims indeed. There we go forth to meet what we shall meet.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “God made this world, but he didn’t make it to suit everybody, did he?”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “He’d bivouacked on the north side of the town.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “It just bothered me that you might think I’m somethin special. I aint.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “Well, I think the questioner wants the truth. The doubter wants to be told there aint no such thing.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “He understood what the priest could not. That what we seek is the worthy adversary. For we strike out to fall flailing through demons of wire and crepe and we long for something of substance to oppose us. Something to contain us or to stay our hand. Otherwise there were no boundaries to our own being and we too must extend our claims until we lose all definition. Until we must be swallowed up at last by the very void to which we wished to stand opposed.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “There’s a kind of man that when he cant have what he wants he wont take the next best thing but the worst he can find.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “A man gets older, he said, he finds they’s lots of things he can do jest as well without and so he don’t have to worry about this and that the way a young feller will. I worked near all my life and never had nothin. Seems like a old man’d be allowed his rest but then he comes to find they’s things you have to do on account of nobody else wants to attend to em... Most ever man loves peace, he said, and none better than a old man.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “The world was new each day for God so made it daily. Yet it contained within it all the evils as before, no more, no less.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “The next day on the far side of the mountain we encountered the two lads that had deserted us. Hangin upside down in a tree. They’d been skinned and I can tell ye it does very little for a man’s appearance.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “Maybe hope springs eternal in the whale’s heart too. I don’t know. If you look at the history of species there seems to be no selective advantage to intelligence. It’s the microbes who have totally ignored selection for three and a half billion years that remain with us and probably will remain. They seem almost immortal. The process of evolution appears to be about specialization and adaptation and yet these are the very things that seem ultimately to mediate against survival itself.”
Cormac McCarthy Quote: “The faint light all about, quivering and sourceless, refracted in the rain of drifting soot.”
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