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33 encouraging quotes from literature

Posted by
Francesca Brown
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Most encouraging quotes from literature.

Life getting on top of you? Well – if it helps – all the best stories about people making their way in the world start from them finding their own inner strength. So we’ve selected some of the most encouraging quotes from literature to help you face the hardest of times. 

Lost your way and your will?What you need is a reminder that life can be hard, but that nothing is insurmountable. So we’ve searched through some of our favourite fiction, memoirs and poetry to find you words of wisdom to help you feel encouraged and rejuvenated. After all, “tomorrow is another day”…

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30 inspirational quotes from literature about being strong

  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

    The Handmaid's Tale book cover

    “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”

  • Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

    Dr.-Seuss-Oh-The-Places-Youll-Go

    “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

  • Back To Methuselah by George Bernard Shaw

    Back To Methuselah by George Bernard Shaw.

    “You see things; you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?”

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

    “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being, with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.”

  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

    Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

    “Aim higher in case you fall short.”

  • My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl

    My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl

    “I began to realise how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”

  • The Stand by Stephen King

    The Stand by Stephen King

    “The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there… and still on your feet.” 

  • On Beauty by Zadie Smith

    On Beauty by Zadie Smith

    “Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and they make them alone. The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful… and decide what you want and need and must do.”

  • The Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger

    The-Catcher-in-the-Rye-by-JD-Salinger

    “I think that one of these days,” he said, “you’re going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there. But immediately. You can’t afford to lose a minute. Not you.” 

  • The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

    The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

    “Do not let what you think they think of you make you stop and question everything you are.”

  • Paradise Lost by John Milton

    paradise-lost-by-john-milton

    “Awake, arise or be for ever fall’n.”

  • Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now by Maya Angelou

    Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now by Maya Angelou

    “Living well is an art that can be developed: a love of life and ability to take great pleasure from small offerings and assurance that the world owes you nothing and that every gift is exactly that, a gift.” 

  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy

    The Road by Cormac McCarthy

    “Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.”

  • The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

    The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

    “If I’ve learned one lesson from all that’s happened to me, it’s that there is no such thing as the biggest mistake of your existence. There’s no such thing as ruining your life. Life’s a pretty resilient thing, it turns out.”

  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

    Little-Women-LM-Alcott

    “Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.”

  • Disappearing Acts by Terry McMillan

    Disappearing Acts by Terry McMillan

    “Too many of us are hung up on what we don’t have, can’t have, or won’t ever have. We spend too much energy being down, when we could use that same energy – if not less of it – doing, or at least trying to do, some of the things we really want to do.”

  • Charlie Brown’s Little Book of Wisdom by Charles M Schulz

    Charlie Brown’s Little Book of Wisdom by Charles M Schulz

    “Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.”

  • Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen

    Pride-and-Prejudice-by-Jane-Austen

    “Do not give way to useless alarm; though it is right to be prepared for the worst, there is no occasion to look on it as certain.” 

  • Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business by Dolly Parton

    Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business by Dolly Parton

    “Be the alligator girl. Be whatever your dreams and your luck will let you be. Wear your green cornflakes with pride. Snarl at the crowds, and do your best to make them flinch.”

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

    The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

    “Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

  • How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

    How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

    “You can be whatever you want – so long as you’re sure it’s what you actually want, rather than one of two equally dodgy choices foisted onto you.” 

  • The Temple Of My Familiar by Alice Walker

    The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker

    “Helped are those who are content to be themselves; they will never lack mystery in their lives and the joys of self-discovery will be constant.”

  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

    Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

    “Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle.”

  • The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

    The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

    “Love the world and yourself in it, move through it as though it offers no resistance, as though the world is your natural element.”

  • American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

    American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

    “We have to make mistakes, it’s how we learn compassion for others.”

  • Summer And The City by Candace Bushnell

    Summer And The City by Candace Bushnell

    “Just because something doesn’t last forever, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t meaningful while it did last. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t important.”

  • Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

    “There is something freeing in seeing yourself in a new context. People have no preconceived notion of who you are, and there is relief in knowing that you can re-create yourself.” 

  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

    Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

    “There should be no room in your life for regret. If in the moment of doing you felt clarity, you felt certainty, then why feel regret later?” 

  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K Le Guin

    The Dispossessed by Ursula K Le Guin

    “You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.”

  • A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

    A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

    “Everyone we’ve lost, we’ll find. Or they’ll find us.” 

  • Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

    Oranges-Are-Not-the-Only-Fruit-by-Jeanette-Winterson

    “She must find a boat and sail in it. No guarantee of shore. Only a conviction that what she wanted could exist, if she dared to find it.”

  • Beloved by Toni Morrison

    Beloved by Toni Morrison.

    “You are your best thing.” 

  • Just Kids by Patti Smith

    Just Kids by Patti Smith

    “Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves.” 

Images: Unsplash, courtesy of publishers

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Francesca Brown

Francesca Brown is books editor for Stylist magazine and Stylist Loves; she also compiles the Style List on a weekly basis. She is a self-confessed HBO abuser and has a wide selection of grey sweatshirts. Honestly, you just can’t have enough. @franabouttown

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