Life is Born Out of Force

Paul Klee - “Highway and Byways” (1929)


These characters are strongly American: modern creatures, divided against themselves. They say they want a real life, but they do not mean what they say. They do not understand They do not understand that to have a life one must act, consciously and deliberately, on one’s own integrated behalf. (50)

Life is born out of force and denial at the hands of one’s intimates. This is knowledge to be taken in manfully. In fact, the taking in of this knowledge is precisely what has always been called manful. (68)

… to be oneself is a lonely and fearful thing and, in the end, we each manufacture, or refuse to manufacture, the courage necessary for the task at hand. (92)

Vivian Gornick, The End of the Novel of Love  (1998)