top of page

Abel's Island

William Steig

Top 10 Best Quotes

“How deeply one felt when alone.”

“The stubbornness of his character stood him now in good stead. He refused to consider himself defeated.”

“The damp occupants of the cave stood close together in the vaulted entrance like actors who had played their parts and could now watch the rest of the show from the wings.”

“Somewhere out there, in the night sky-and it could only be night-were the glittering stars, and among them his, the one he had always known. This star, his, millions of miles away, was yet closer than Amanda, because if he had the will and the strength to get up, uncover his window, and look out, he could see it. He knew, therefore, that it existed. But as for Amanda, father, mother, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and the rest of society and the animal kingdom, he had to believe they were there, and it was hard to have this faith. As far as he really knew, he himself was the only, lonely, living thing that existed, and in his coma of coldness, he was not so sure of that.”

“Rain caused one to reflect on the shadowed, more poignant parts of life—the inescapable sorrows, the speechless longings, the disappointments, the regrets, the cold miseries. It also allowed one the leisure to ponder questions unasked in the bustle of brighter days; and if one were snug under a sound roof, as Abel was, one felt somehow mothered, though mothers were nowhere around, and absolved of responsibilities.”

“He was suddenly thrilled to see his private, personal star arise in the east. This was a particular star his nanny had chosen for him as a child. As a child, he would sometimes talk to this star, but only when he was his most serious, real self, and not being any sort of a show-off or clown. As he grew up, the practice had somehow worn off. He looked up at his old friend as if to say, “You see my predicament.” The star seemed to respond, “I see.” Abel next put the question: “What shall I do?” The star seemed to answer, “You will do what you will do.” For some reason this reply strengthened Abel’s belief in himself. Sleep gently enfolded him. The constellations proceeded across the hushed heavens as if tiptoeing past the dreaming mouse on his high branch.”

“Abel also kept busy taking it easy. Only when taking it easy, he'd learned, could one properly do one's wondering.”

“[T]he conviction grew in him that the earth and the sky knew he was there and also felt friendly; so he was not really alone, and not really entirely lonely.”

“He began to develop an obstinate patience.”

“Never had he been subjected to such rude treatment. How long could it last? How long, he wondered, could he abide it?”

Except where otherwise noted, all rights reserved to the author(s) of this book (mentioned above). The content of this page serves as promotional material only. If you enjoyed these quotes, you can support the author(s) by acquiring the full book from Amazon.

Book Keywords:

faith-in-yourself, stubbornness, patience, star, uncertainty, rain, solitude, problem-solving, character, hope, loneliness, nature

bottom of page