Rifle Quotes (3 quotes)
According to Herr Cook's observation, the inhabitants of New Guinea have something they set light to which burns up almost like gunpowder. They also put it into hollow staves, and from a distance you could believe they are shooting. But it does not produce so much as a bang. Presumably they are trying to imitate the Europeans. They have failed to realize its real purpose.
Anton Chekhov wrote that ‘one must not put a loaded rifle on stage if no one is thinking of firing it.’ Good drama requires spare and purposive action, sensible linking of potential causes with realized effects. Life is much messier; nothing happens most of the time. Millions of Americans (many hotheaded) own rifles (many loaded), but the great majority, thank God, do not go off most of the time. We spend most of real life waiting for Godot, not charging once more unto the breach.
Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf.… Mountains have a secret opinion about them.… Our rifles were empty, the old wolf was down… We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes—something known only to her and to the mountain.