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  • Somehow even tragedies seem less tragical, when you are the actors in them, than they look to outsiders

    • Hannah Whitall Smith,
    • 1902, in Logan Pearsall Smith, ed., A Religious Rebel: The Letters of "H.W.S." ()
  • Tragedy isn't getting something, or failing to get it; it's losing something you already have.

  • It isn't for the moment you are struck that you need courage but for the long uphill climb back to sanity and faith and security.

  • Everybody's tragedy is somebody's nuisance.

  • Tragedy massages the human ego even as comedy deflates it. ... Tragedy pits us against large foes and the trip wire is our own character. ... In comedy we fall afoul of one another. Comedy depends on social life, on our behavior in groups. In tragedy you can observe one human against the gods. In comedy it's one human versus other humans and often one man (or woman if I'm writing it) against her own worst impulses.

  • With time the unbearable becomes shocking, becomes sad, and finally becomes poignant.

  • Victims suggest innocence. And innocence, by the inexorable logic that governs all relational terms, suggests guilt.

  • Knowing that others have gone through similar tragedies may be a help, but it should be remembered that every tragedy is not only commonplace but also unique.

  • The fact of being reported increases the apparent extent of a deplorable development by a factor of ten.

  • Tragedy, no matter how sad, becomes boring to those not caught in its addictive caress.

  • This morning / As I watch people pick flowers in the garden / ... My heart of a sudden beats strong / Fiercely thrashing my tumultuous chest / Withered are my flowers, grown / Under the watering flow of sweat. / ... Oh my flowers / By His side you are blooms / Be at peace in the embrace of His love / Open hearted we release you / Farewell my flowers / At heaven's gate we will meet.

    • Rosni Idham,
    • "Garden Flowers: To My Children, Victims of Tsunami," in Tsunami Notebook: Poems Washed Up From the Sea of Tears ()
  • There is often in people to whom 'the worst' has happened an almost transcendent freedom, for they have faced 'the worst' and survived it.

  • Have you ever thought, when something dreadful happens, 'a moment ago things were not like this; let it be then, not now, anything but now'? And you try and try to remake then, but you know you can't. So you try to hold the moment quite still and not let it move on and show itself.

  • When people say of their tragedies, 'I don't often think of it now,' what they mean is it has entered permanently into their thoughts, and colors everything.

  • There's as thin a line between comedy and tragedy as between love and hate. They're for ever spilling over into each other.

  • ... tragedy had its compensations. Once the worst misfortune occurred, one never worried about the minor ones.

  • Tragedy is chic but discontent is dowdy.

  • Disaster is private, in its way, as love is.

  • All lives are tragic. I wish yours had not been, and we know that that is wishing that you had not lived, so I take it back quickly and so do you.

    • Rose Wilder Lane,
    • 1960, in William Holtz, ed., Dorothy Thompson and Rose Wilder Lane: Forty Years of Friendship ()
  • As comedy presents the vital rhythm of self-preservation, tragedy exhibits that of self-consummation.

  • A person's mind can't encompass all. One can't mourn statistics. I mourn for one.