I knew by the way he looked at her that he held her in a higher regard than he held even himself. No selfishness or insecurity kept him from seeing the full extent of her goodeness, as it so often does with the rest of us. That kind of love may only be possible in Abnegation. I do not know.My father: Erudite-born, Abnegation-grown. He often found it difficult to live up to the demands of his chosen faction, just as I did. But he tried, and he knew true selflessness when he saw it.
I'm pretty sure I can say that no one in my family ever asked Demetrie what it felt like to be black in Mississippi, working for our white family. It never occurred to us to ask. It was everyday life. It wasn't something people felt compelled to examine. I have wished, for many years, that I'd been old enough and thoughtful enough to ask Demetrie that question. She died when I was sixteen. I've spent years imagining what her answer would be. And that is why I wrote this book.
She could see the name Fukamachi on a shiny name-plate by the door of the house, but it was a name that meant nothing to Kazuko. And at that moment, in her heart, she began to dream of meeting someone. Someone special who would one day walk into her life. Someone she would instantly feel she had known for years. Someone who would feel the same about her.
At first I was surprised and confused; then as he lay in his house and didn't move or breathe or speak hour upon hour it grew upon me that I was responsible, because no one else was interested--interested, I mean, with that intense personal interest to which everyone has some vague right at the end.
Even those novelists most commonly deemed philosophical have sometimes answered with an emphatic no. Iris Murdoch, the longtime Oxford philosopher and author of some two dozen novels treating highbrow themes like consciousness and morality, argued that philosophy and literature were contrary pursuits. Philosophy calls on the analytical mind to solve conceptual problems in an austere, unselfish, candid prose, she said in a BBC interview broadcast in 1978, while literature looks to the imagination to show us something mysterious, ambiguous, particular about the world. Any appearance of philosophical ideas in her own novels was an inconsequential reflection of what she happened to know. If I knew about sailing ships I would put in sailing ships, she said. And in a way, as a novelist, I would rather know about sailing ships than about philosophy.
The flock gets sight of a spot of blood on some chicken and they all go to peckin' at it, see, till they rip the chicken to shreds, blood and bones and feathers. But usually a couple of the flock gets spotted in the fracas, then it's their turn. And a few more gets spots and gets pecked to death, and more and more. Oh, a peckin' party can wipe out the whole flock in a matter of a few hours, buddy, I seen it. A mighty awesome sight. The only way to prevent it with chickens is to clip blinders on them. So's they can't see.
But brothers, this biting of their toe-nails over what is the cause of badness is what turns me into a fine laughing malchick. They don't go into what is the cause of goodness, so why of the other shop? If lewdies are good that's because they like it, and I wouldn't ever interfere with their pleasures, and so of the other shop. And I was patronizing the other shop. More, badness is of the self, the one, the you or me on our oddy knockies, and that self is made by old Bog or God and is his great pride and radosty. But the not-self cannot have the bad, meaning they of the government and the judges and the schools cannot allow the bad because they cannot allow the self. And is not our modern history, my brothers, the story of brave malenky selves fighting these big machines? I am serious with you, brothers, over this. But what I do I do because I like to do.