26 September 2010

the small-big line

For context, I have spent several late nights/early mornings watching one of my most favorite movie actors, Clint Eastwood: The Outlaw Josey Wales; Unforgiven; Gran Torino; Pale Rider; The Good, The Bad and the Ugly; Fistful of Dollars. Small-big lines are those memorable, game-changers for which Clint is famous:

"Man's gotta know his limitations."

"Go ahead. Make my day."

"Right turn, Clyde."

"Get ready, little lady. Hell is coming to breakfast."

"Are you feelin' lucky, punk?"

"Sorry, Tuco."

It's the weight of the story, empowered by the plot, characters, and reader/viewer empathy. Some classics:

"What remains?" cried Ivanhoe; "Glory, maiden, glory!"
Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott

"Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity!"
Bartleby the Scrivner, Herman Melville

"The horror! The horror!"
Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

"A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!"
Richard III, William Shakespeare

What's your favorite small-big line? Leave a comment or post it to my Facebook page - I'd love to know.


p.s. This week is Banned-Book Week. September 25 - October 1. Support those amazing, thoughtful and unafraid authors; read something banned!

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