It takes two people to make you, and one people to die. That’s how the world is going to end.

As I Lay Dying (1930)
tagged: birth, death, life

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More from William Faulkner

Why that’s a hundred miles away. That’s a long way to go just to eat.

On declining invitation to White House dinner honoring Nobel laureates, as quoted in Life magazine (20 January 1962)

There is something about jumping a horse over a fence, something that makes you feel good. Perhaps it’s the risk, the gamble. In any event it’s a thing I need.

As quoted in "Visit to Two-Finger Typist" by Elliot Chaze in LIFE magazine (14 July 1961)

Mr. Khrushchev says that Communism, the police state, will bury the free ones. He is a smart gentleman, he knows that this is nonsense since freedom, man’s dim concept of and belief in the human spirit is the cause of all his troubles in his own country. But if he means that Communism will bury capitalism, he is correct. That funeral will occur about ten minutes after the police bury gambling. Because simple man, the human race, will bury both of them. That will be when we have expended the last grain, dram, and iota of our natural resources. But man himself will not be in that grave. The last sound on the worthless earth will be two human beings trying to launch a homemade spaceship and already quarreling about where they are going next.

Speech to the UNESCO Commission, as quoted in The New York Times (3 October 1959)

I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

Speech at the Nobel Prize Banquet after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature (10 December 1950)

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again.

Speech at the Nobel Prize Banquet after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature (10 December 1950)