James Thurber Quotations

James Thurber

All men should strive to learn before they die
What they are running from, and to, and why.

American students are like American colleges -- each has half-dulled faculties.

Her own mother lived the latter years of her life in the horrible suspicion that electricity was dripping invisibly all over the house.

[H]umor in a living culture must not be put away in the attic with the flag, but should be flaunted, like the flag, bravely. Every time is a time for comedy in a world of tension that would languish without it.

Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.

I am not a cat man, but a dog man, and all felines can tell this at a glance -- a sharp, vindictive glance.

I do not have a psychiatrist and I do not want one, for the simple reason that if he listened to me long enough, he might become disturbed.

If I have any belief about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to Heaven, and very, very few persons.

I hate women because they always know where things are.

I loathe the expression "What makes him tick." It is the American mind, looking for simple and singular solution, that uses the foolish expression. A person not only ticks, he also chimes and strikes the hour, falls and breaks and has to be put together again, and sometimes stops like an electric clock in a thunderstorm.

It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy.

It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.

I used to wake up at 4 A.M. and start sneezing, sometimes for five hours. I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had but finally came to the conclusion that it must be an allergy to consciousness.

I was seized by the stern hand of Compulsion, that dark, unseasonable Urge that impels women to clean house in the middle of the night.

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around us in awareness.

Nothing cheers a woman more, I am afraid, than the proof that another woman is letting herself go, or has lost control of her figure, or is clearly driving her husband crazy, or is obviously drinking more than is good for her, or still doesn't know what to wear.

There are two kinds of light -- the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures.

There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else.

The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself.

You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.

You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward.