Top 15 Favorite Last Lines

It is “Hump Day” or, in boring terms, Wednesday; and since I do not have a regular Wednesday meme or posting theme, I thought I would do something totally random today.
Nerd that I am, I keep a journal of my favorite “last lines” from novels I’ve read. I posted my all-time favorite today on Facebook (from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and got a nice response from Ash at Smash Attack Reads which inspired me to go the “Huh..this could be a blog post thingy, and then I’ll have a regular place to keep all the last lines I add to my favorites list forever and ever!” posting route.

These are in no particular order (though I did put asterisks ** next to my top favorites), and I know there are many, many other great and famous last lines out there – but I am only including the ones from books I have actually read.

Without further ado, my favorite last lines:

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald **
“And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

2. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
“He stayed that way for a long time and when he roused himself and again looked out the car window the town of Winesburg had disappeared and his life there had become but a background on which to paint the dreams of his manhood.”

3. The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
“Columbus too thought he was a flop, probably, when they sent him back in chains. Which didn’t prove there was no America.”

4. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
“The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed somber under an overcast sky – seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.”

5. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
“Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision.”

6. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens **
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”

7. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain **
“But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before.”

8. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
“ If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity; and I would climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would take from the ground some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men; and I would make a statue of myself, lying on my back, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who.”

9. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger **
“Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”

10. Animal Farm by George Orwell **
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

11. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
“In your rocking-chair, by your window dreaming, shall you long, alone. In your rocking-chair, by your window, shall you dream such happiness as you may never feel.”

12. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
“I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her.”

13. McTeague by Frank Norris
“McTeague remained stupidly looking around him, now at the distant horizon, now at the ground, now at the half-dead canary chittering feebly in its little gilt prison.”

14. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
“Come, children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out.”

15. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
“So, if this does end up being my last letter, please believe that things are good with me, and even when they’re not, they will be soon enough. And I will believe the same about you.”

What are your favorites?  Leave me comments if you think I’m missing anything!

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14 thoughts on “Top 15 Favorite Last Lines

  1. >Thanks Adam! Glad I could help spark a good idea. ;)I keep a journal of fav. book quotes too!! I try to make weekly posts on Fridays of favorite book quotes. I'm a quote fiend. Love the Huck Finn line! I adored that book. I need to read Cat's Cradle. Great idea!

  2. >GREAT list! I tend to be more of a "first line" person, so I rarely pay as much attention to last lines as I should. You've mentioned several of my all-time faves here: Gatsby, Tale of Two Cities, and Sister Carrie. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. >Oh a list. Man, I love a good list. Sadly, the only book I've read on here is To The Lighthouse. That was a wonderful book. I need to read it again. Fortunately I own a couple of the books on here. I just need to read them. Great last lines. By the way, there's an award waiting for you over at my blog. Keep it shiny!

  4. >Great idea to play attention to the last lines! I'm a sucker for first lines. Sometimes when I'm in a bookstore, I'll pick up a number of books I'm unfamiliar with and check out the first lines.One of my favorite last lines is from Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man:"Being invisible and without substance, a disembodied voice, as it were, what else could I do? What else but try to tell you what was really happening when your eyes were looking through? And it is this which freightens me: "Who knows but what, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?"Michael

  5. >Ugh. my comment ate itself. But, this makes me mad that I haven't writen any last lines out. I typically pull ones from the middle. I will have to dig through my shelves soon and find some! Catcher in the Rye is one of my faves.

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