Olive Schreiner

Olive
Schreiner
1855
1920

South African Author, Pacifist and Political Activist

Author Quotes

By our errors we see deeper into life.

My feeling is that there is nothing in life but refraining from hurting others, and comforting those who are sad.

There is nothing in life but refraining from hurting others, and comforting those that are sad.

Experience teaches us in a millennium what passion teaches us in an hour.

No good work is ever done while the heart is hot and anxious and fretted.

There is nothing ridiculous in love.

Finishing schools are nicely adapted machines for experimenting on the question, Into how little space a human being can be crushed I have seen some souls so compressed that they would have fitted into a small thimble, and found room to move.

No woman has the right to marry a man if she has to bend herself out of shape for him. She might wish to, but she could never be to him with all her passionate endeavor what the other woman could be to him without trying. Character will dominate overall and will come out at last.

They talk of genius--it is nothing but this, that a man knows what he can do best, and does it, and nothing else.

From our earliest hour we have been taught that the thought of the heart, the shaping of the rain-cloud, the amount of wool that grows on a sheep's back, the length of a drought, and the growing of the corn, depend on nothing that moves immutable, at the heart of all things; but on the changeable will of a changeable being, whom our prayers can alter. To us, from the beginning, Nature has been but a poor plastic thing, to be toyed with this way or that, as man happens to please his deity or not; to go to church or not; to say his prayers right or not; to travel on a Sunday or not. Was it possible for us in an instant to see Nature as she is ? the flowing vestment of an unchanging reality?

Now we have no God. We have had two the old God that our fathers handed down to us, that we hated, and never liked the new one that we made for ourselves, that we loved but now he has flitted away from us, and we see what he was made of -- the shadow of our highest ideal, crowned and throned. Now we have no God.

This dirty little world full of confusion, and the blue rag, stretched overhead for a sky, is so low we could touch it with our hand.

How hard it is to make your thoughts look anything but imbecile fools when you paint them with ink on paper.

Of all cursed places under the sun, where the hungriest soul can hardly pick up a few grains of knowledge, a girls boarding-school is the worst. They are called finishing schools, and the name tells accurately what they are. They finish everything but imbecility and weakness, and that they cultivate. They are nicely adapted machines for experimenting on the question, Into how little space a human being can be crushed? I have seen some souls so compressed that they would have fitted into a small thimble, and found room to move there ? wide room. A woman who has been for many years at one of those places carries the mark of the beast on her till she dies.

Troubles of the young are soon over.

I know there will be spring, as surely as the birds know it when they see above the snow two tiny, quivering green leaves. Spring cannot fail us.

Our fathers had their dreams; we have ours; the generation that follows will have its own. Without dreams and phantoms man cannot exist.

We all enter the world little plastic beings, with so much natural force, perhaps, but for the rest ? blank; and the world tells us what we are to be, and shapes us by the ends it sets before us. To you it says ? Work; and to us it says ? Seem! To you it says ? As you approximate to man's highest ideal of God, as your arm is strong and your knowledge great, and the power to labor is with you, so you shall gain all that human heart desires. To us it says ? Strength shall not help you, nor knowledge, nor labor. You shall gain what men gain, but by other means. And so the world makes men and women.

I object to anything that divides the two sexes. My main point is this: Human development has now reached a point at which sexual difference has become a thing of altogether minor importance. We make too much of it; we are men and women in the second place; human beings in the first.

Perhaps the old monks were right when they tried to root love out; perhaps the poets are right when they try to water it. It is a blood-red flower, with the color of sin; but there is always the scent of a god about it.

We bear the world and we make it. ... There was never a great man who had not a great mother-it is hardly an exaggeration.

I think if I were dying and I heard of an act of injustice, it would start me up to a moment's life again.

Power! Did you ever hear of men being asked whether other souls should have power or not? It is born in them. You may dam up the fountain of water, and make it a stagnant marsh, or you may let it run free and do its work; but you cannot say whether it shall be there; it is there. And it will act, if not openly for good, then covertly for evil; but it will act.

We enter the world as little plastic beings.

I think,' said Lyndall, 'that he is like a thorn-tree, which grows up very quietly, without any one's caring for it, and one day suddenly breaks out into yellow blossoms.

Author Picture
First Name
Olive
Last Name
Schreiner
Birth Date
1855
Death Date
1920
Bio

South African Author, Pacifist and Political Activist