Recently, photography has become almost as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing – which means that, like every mass art form, photography is not practiced by most people as an art. It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power.
Plato’s Cave - On Photography - Susan Sontag
The girl was still young; she still had to be pushed. We all have to be pushed, he thought. It doesn’t end.
The Orchardist - Amanda Coplin
People always think that happiness is a faraway thing," thought Francie, "something complicated and hard to get. Yet, what little things can make it up; a place of shelter when it rains – a cup of strong hot coffee when you’re blue; for a man, a cigarette for contentment; a book to read when you’re alone – just to be with someone you love. Those things make happiness.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
The public are swine; advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.
Keep the Aspidistra Flying - George Orwell
'It's true that a child belongs to its father. But when a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its mother's hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland.'
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe

Because by now she’d begun to forget that inside of her were two souls, and these souls kept quite and cried without tears in the dark prison of her powerful body. In their place there grew inside Marilena’s body a whole new soul, fat and gluttonous, obnoxious and fun-loving, greedy and tactless, charming when this was advantageous to her and grim when it wasn’t.

It’s no secret, of course, that souls sometimes die within a person and are replaced by others - especially with age.

Marilena’s Secret - Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

'Little girls,' said Miss Brodie, ' come and observe this.'

They clustered round the open door while she pointed to a large poster pinned with drawing-pins on the opposite wall within the room. It depicted a man’s big face. Underneath were the words ‘Safety First’.

'This is Stanley Baldwin who got in as Prime Minister and got out again ere long,' said Miss Brodie. 'Miss Mackay retains him on the wall because she believes in the slogan “Safety First”. But Safety does not come first. Goodness, Truth and Beauty come first. Follow me.'

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark

But which one among us is without sin? I can hardly think where to cast my stones, so I just go on keening for my own losses, trying to wear the marks of the boot on my back as gracefully as the Congo wears hers.

My little beast, my eyes, my favourite stolen egg. Listen. To live is to be marked. To live is to change, to acquire the words of a story, and that is the only celebration we mortals really know. In perfect stillness, frankly, I’ve only found sorrow.

The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver

"When anyone grows very old he becomes like a little baby again."

"And dies?" asked the boy.

It was a string in his breast that snapped, one of those delicate childhood strings which break before one has had time to realize that they are capable of sounding; and these strings sound no more; henceforth they are only a memory of incredible days.

"We all die."

Independent People - Halldór Laxness
There is, I hope, a thesis in my work: we may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. That sounds goody-two-shoes, I know, but I believe that a diamond is the result of extreme pressure and time. Less time is crystal. Less than that is coal. Less than that is fossilized leaves. Less than that it’s just plain dirt. In all my work, in the movies I write, the lyrics, the poetry, the prose, the essays, I am saying that we may encounter many defeats—maybe it’s imperative that we encounter the defeats—but we are much stronger than we appear to be and maybe much better than we allow ourselves to be. Human beings are more alike than unalike. There’s no real mystique. Every human being, every Jew, Christian, backslider, Muslim, Shintoist, Zen Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, every human being wants a nice place to live, a good place for the children to go to school, healthy children, somebody to love, the courage, the unmitigated gall to accept love in return, someplace to party on Saturday or Sunday night, and someplace to perpetuate that God. There’s no mystique. None. And if I’m right in my work, that’s what my work says.