Olive Schreiner

Olive
Schreiner
1855
1920

South African Author, Pacifist and Political Activist

Author Quotes

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.

Sin looks much more terrible to those who look at it than to those who do it.

We have been so blinded by thinking and feeling that we have never seen the World.

If Nature here wishes to make a mountain, she runs a range for five hundred miles; if a plain, she levels eighty; if a rock, she tilts five thousand feet of strata on end; our skies are higher and more intensely blue; our waves larger than others; our rivers fiercer. There is nothing measured, small nor petty in South Africa.

Slavery may, perhaps, be best compared to the infantile disease of measles; a complaint which so commonly attacks the young of humanity in their infancy, and when gone through at that period leaves behind it so few fatal marks; but which when it normally attacks the fully developed adult becomes one of the most virulent and toxic of diseases, often permanently poisoning the constitution where it does not end in death.

We were equals once when we lay new-born babes on our nurse's knees. We will be equal again when they tie up our jaws for the last sleep.

A little crying, a little flattery, a little self-humiliation, a little careful use of our advantages, and then one of the men will say: Come on, be my wife!

If the bird does like its cage, and does like its sugar, and will not leave it, why keep the door so very carefully shut?

So age succeeds age, and dream succeeds dream, and of the joy of the dreamer no man knoweth but he who dreameth.

Wisdom never kicks at the iron walls it can't bring down.

A little weeping, a little wheedling, a little self-degradation, a little careful use of our advantages, and then some man will say .Come, be my wife! With good looks and youth marriage is easy to attain. There are men enough; but a woman who has sold herself, even for a ring and a new name, need hold her skirt aside for no creature in the street. They both earn their bread in one way. Marriage for love is the most beautiful external symbol of the union of souls; marriage without it is the least clean traffic that defiles the world.

If you have a deadly fruit to give, it will not grow sweeter by keeping.

The secret of success is concentration, wherever there has been a great life, or a great work, that has gone before. Taste everything a little, look at everything a little; but live for one thing.

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

South African Author, Pacifist and Political Activist