Monday, April 11, 2011

Lines To Die For

If there’s one thing I love to read, it’s a great phrase. My favorites are the ones that mark a turning point, capture a major theme or crystallize a character’s purpose in a book. Some of the best ones are short and carry a big message. My husband and I use some of them as running jokes. When he gets upset with me, he sometimes shouts, “Do it to Julia!” This is from George Orwell’s classic 1984. In that scene the main character gives up on his true love and any hope of independent thought.

YA books have some great ones.

Even people who haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books know that “Expecto patronum!” is a lot more than a way to invoke a spell. Harry says it when he simultaneously grows his confidence, relieves himself of some grief for his parents and saves the life of one of his best supporters. It’s a signpost on Harry’s path that points, “This way to adult land and herodom.”

In The Secret Garden, Colin Craven is a peevish, spoiled and high irritable invalid who is convinced that he won’t live to grow up or, if he does, that he’ll be a hunchback like his father. When he meets his cousin Mary, he takes much more of an interest in life, which leads to an improvement in his health and his disposition. It’s a beautiful moment and a real turning point in the story and in Colin’s character when he goes into his mother’s garden – the secret garden – and sees spring unfolding around him. Colin exclaims, “I shall live forever and ever. I am well!

What are your favorite moments or phrases? Let me know in the comment box below!

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