34 Best Shirley Quotes
Shirley by Charlotte Brontë (also the author of Jane Eyre) is a novel about two women, Caroline Helstone and Shirley Keeldar. It is set in Yorkshire during the industrial revolution when the social and economic landscape rapidly changed. The novel explores themes of class conflict, gender roles, love and marriage, and the struggles faced by women in a patriarchal society.
The character of Shirley Keeldar is fascinating as she defies expectations for a woman of her time. She is independent and outspoken, running her own business at a young age and taking an interest in politics. By contrast, Caroline Helstone embodies the traditional female role of caretaker and nurturer. However, as the two women become friends, they learn from each other and challenge their beliefs about being a woman in their society.
Here are some of the best Shirley quotes by Charlotte Brontë:
Shirley Quotes by Charlotte Brontë
Alas, Experience! No other mentor has so wasted and frozen a face as yours, none wears a robe so black, none bears a rod so heavy, none with hand so inexorable draws the novice so sternly to his task, and forces him with authority so resistless to its acquirement.
At heart, he could not abide sense in women: he liked to see them as silly, as light-headed, as vain, as open to ridicule as possible; because they were then in reality what he held them to be, and wished them to be,–inferior: toys to play with, to amuse a vacant hour and to be thrown away.
Better to try all things and find all empty, than to try nothing and leave your life a blank.
But when people are long indifferent to us, we grow indifferent to their indifference.
Cheerfulness, it would appear, is a matter which depends fully as much on the state of things within as on the state of things without and around us.
Existence never was originally meant to be that useless, blank, pale, slow-trailing thing it often becomes to many, and is becoming to me, among the rest.
. . . for, however old, plain, humble, desolate, afflicted we may be, so long as our hearts preserve the feeblest spark of life, they preserve also, shivering near that pale ember, a starved, ghostly longing for appreciation and affection.
God surely did not create us, and cause us to live, with the sole end of wishing always to die. I believe, in my heart, we were intended to prize life and enjoy it, so long as we retain it.
Gratitude is a divine emotion: it fills the heart, but not to bursting: it warms it, but not to fever. I like to taste leisurely of bliss: devoured in haste, I do not know its flavour.
Having a large world of his own in his own head and heart, he tolerated confinement to a small, still corner of the real world very patiently.
He uttered words with which this page shall never be polluted.
Her book has perhaps been a good one; it has refreshed, refilled, rewarmed her heart; it has set her brain astir, furnished her mind with pictures.
His mind has the clearness of the deep sea, the patience of its rocks, the force of its billows.
I am anchored on a resolve you cannot shake. My heart, my conscience shall dispose of my hand — they only. Know this at last.
I am not romantic. I am stripped of romance as bare as the white tenters in that field are of cloth.
I will bestir myself,’ was her resolution, ‘and try to be wise if I cannot be good.
I’ll borrow of imagination what reality will not give me.
If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women: they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend.
It was not her heart so much as her temper that was wrong.
Love can excuse anything except meanness; but meanness kills love, cripples even natural affection; without esteem true love cannot exist.
Love is real—the most real, the most lasting, the sweetest and yet the bitterest thing we know.
No man—no woman—is always strong, always able to bear up against the unjust opinion, the vilifying word. Calumny, even from the mouth of a fool, will sometimes cut into unguarded feelings.
Once I only saw her beauty, now I feel it.
Our power of being happy lies a good deal in ourselves, I believe.
Something real, cool and solid lies before you; something unromantic as Monday morning, when all who have work wake with the consciousness that they must rise and betake themselves thereto.
Strange that grief should now almost choke me, because another human being’s eye has failed to greet mine.
Suspense is irksome, disappointment bitter.
The wings of action and ambition could not long lie folded.
Then the curtain rises, and you will see the girl to whom I am going to give all my life, to whom I have given everything that is good in me.
. . . they would neither hate nor envy us if they did not deem us so much happier than themselves.
You do not know how the people of this country bear malice. It is the boast of some of them that they can keep a stone in their pocket seven years, turn it at the end of that time, keep it seven years longer, and hurl it and hit their mark at last.
Whether truth–be it religious or moral truth–speak eloquently and in well-chosen language or not, its voice should be heard with reverence.
You had no right to be born; for you make no use of life. Instead of living for, in, and with yourself, as a reasonable being ought, you seek only to fasten your feebleness on some other person’s strength.
You may search my countenance, but you cannot read it.