• Many individuals are so constituted that their only thought is to obtain pleasure and shun responsibility. They would like, butterfly-like, to wing forever in a summer garden, flitting from flower to flower, and sipping honey for their sole delight. They have no feeling that any result which might flow from their action should concern them. They have no conception of the necessity of a well-organized society wherein all shall accept a certain quota of responsibility and all realize a reasonable amount of happiness. They think only of themselves because they have not yet been taught to think of society. For them pain and necessity are the great taskmasters. Laws are but the fences which circumscribe the sphere of their operations. When, after error, pain falls as a lash, they do not comprehend that their suffering is due to misbehavior. Many such an individual is so lashed by necessity and law that he falls fainting to the ground, dies hungry in the gutter or rotting in the jail and it never once flashes across his mind that he has been lashed only in so far as he has persisted in attempting to trespass the boundaries which necessity sets. A prisoner of fate, held enchained for his own delight, he does not know that the walls are tall, that the sentinels of life are forever pacing, musket in hand. He cannot perceive that all joy is within and not without. He must be for scaling the bounds of society, for overpowering the sentinel. When we hear the cries of the individual strung up by the thumbs, when we hear the ominous shot which marks the end of another victim who has thought to break loose, we may be sure that in another instance life has been misunderstood--we may be sure that society has been struggled against until death alone would stop the individual from contention and evil

    Theodore Dreiser
  • When a man, however passively, becomes an obstacle to the fulfillment of a woman's desires, he becomes an odious thing in her eyes, - or will, given time enough

    Theodore Dreiser
  • The thing that impressed me then as now about New York… was the sharp, and at the same time immense, contrast it showed between the dull and the shrewd, the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor, the wise and the ignorant… the strong, or those who ultimately dominated, were so very strong, and the weak so very, very weak - and so very, very many

    Theodore Dreiser
  • He paused, wishing to embrace her, but feeling for the moment that he should not. Then, reaching into a waistcoat pocket, he took from it a thin gold locket, the size of a silver dollar, which he opened and handed to her. One interior face of it was lined with a photograph of Berenice as a girl of twelve, thin, delicate, supercilious, self-contained, distant, as she was to this hour

    Theodore Dreiser
  • Conservatism -- hard work -- saving one's money -- looking neat and gentlemanly. It was such an Eveless paradise, that

    Theodore Dreiser
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