The Age Of Miracles: Important quotes with page – 2279 words

The Age Of Miracles: Important quotes with page

1. “We did not sense at first the extra time bulging from the smooth edge of each day like a tumor blooming beneath the skin. ” (Chapter 1, Page 3) In The Age of Miracles, “the slowing” is the catastrophic natural phenomenon in which Earth decelerates. This excerpt implies that “the slowing” does not happen overnight. The narrator equates the progression of “the slowing” to the development of an unknown tumor, which indicates that enormous changes begin gradually.

2. “There was no footage to show on television, no burning buildings or broken bridges, no twisted metal or scorched earth, no houses sliding off slabs. No one was wounded. No one was dead. It was, at the beginning, a quite invisible catastrophe. ” (Chapter 3, Page 12) Some of the most insidious pains develop slowly and over time, like a tumor. Walker sets the stage to draw parallels between “the slowing” and other more mundane life crises that occur over time: the possible dissolution of a marriage, the ending of a friendship, and the slow-build that leads to adolescence.

3. “Later, I would come to think of those first days as the time when we learned as a species that we had worried over the wrong things: the hole in the ozone layer, the melting of the ice caps, West Nile and swine flu and killer bees. But I guess it never is what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. ” (Chapter 3, Page 29) The narrator’s commentary on modern life, which runs throughout the book, is apparent in this passage. Julia notes how humanity historically focuses on the tangible events, yet the end of life on Earth transpires slowly and beyond immediate detection.

4. “And it seems to me now that the slowing triggered certain other changes too, less visible at first but deeper. It disrupted certain subtler trajectories: the tracks of friendships, for example; the paths toward and away from love. ” (Chapter 4, Page 33) As a work of literary fiction, The Age of Miracles is concerned not only with “the slowing” as a sci-fi plot device, it also uses this phenomenon to chart the slight emotional changes and effects on the book’s characters, particularly the protagonist, Julia.

5. “We were a different kind of Christian, the quiet, reasonable kind, a breed embarrassed by the mention of miracles. ” (Chapter 6, Page 66) Julia’s family is emblematic of a certain type of modern, suburban home. The family shares mostly liberal beliefs and has little to no enthusiasm for religion. This passage suggests that Julia’s family does not possess a great degree of faith. Her family can cope with “the slowing” differently than the rest of the world, particularly those who have less resources, because Julia and her parents reflect the middle to upper class.

6. “Extra hours emerged between the cracks in workers’ shifts. Planes were grounded for days, and trains were halted on tracks until new scheduling schemes could be invented and put into place. Timetables had to be tossed out and re-imagined every day. We improvised. We adapted. We made do. ” (Chapter 7, Page 69) At the onset of “the slowing,” a few minutes are continually added to each day. This excerpt exhibits how even the slightest of changes can cause major consequences. Modern societal infrastructures buckle and break in response to Earth’s deceleration.

7. “What would become apparent soon enough was this: We would fall out of sync with the sun almost immediately. Light would be unhooked from day, darkness unchained from night. And not everyone would go along with the plan. ” (Chapter 9, Page 84) One of the major thematic elements is being unmoored from the usual systems, whether it be with nature, as with “the slowing,” or with childhood, as with adolescence.

8. “But doesn’t every previous era feel like fiction once it’s gone? After a while, certain vestigial sayings are all that remain. Decades after the invention of the automobile, for instance, we continue to warn each other not to put the cart before the horse. So, too, we do still have daydreams and nightmares, and the early-morning clock hours are still known colloquially (if increasingly mysteriously) as the crack of dawn.

Similarly, even as they grew apart, my parents never stopped calling each other sweetheart. ” (Chapter 10, Page 89) Julia’s parents’ marital problems parallel “the slowing” in that their marriage dissolves gradually, yet there are still these “vestigial” practices of a bygone era, back when they were in love. Julia also expresses her inherent resentment for the changes she sees occurring, which she projects in assessing sayings that relate to time. While she focuses on the worldwide problem of “the slowing,” she is avoiding the personal problem of her parents’ dissonance.

9. “This is just to say that as strange as the new days seemed to us at first, the old days would come to feel very quickly the stranger. ” (Chapter 10, Page 102) Walker impresses upon the reader that time, as it is related to memory, are both incredibly malleable and subject to change. This concept is accentuated in Julia’s worldview. As foreign as the new way of living seems, Julia notes how perception evolves, subsequently accepting that one day, her idea of “normal” will be outdated.

10. “She looked lonely through the lens of my telescope, like one of those faraway stars, still visible to our eyes but no longer really there. She looked lonelier even than I was. ” (Chapter 14, Page 116) Loneliness is a key theme in the book, and social isolation is expressed as a feature of modern life that afflicts all people. Julia comments on the lonely appearance of Sylvia, who Julia knows is having an affair with her father. Julia views Sylvia with an objective air from a distance, just as Julia recounts her heart wrenching narrative from an emotional distance.

11. “To me, this was more proof of how alone she was, as if, when too long isolated from other human beings, a person risked losing not only the need to speak but also the ability.” (Chapter 16, Page 124) When Julia visits Sylvia for the first time in months, Sylvia’s voice cracks when she first speaks. Building on the theme of social isolation, Julia wonders if socializing is a skill that can be lost, echoing how other fixed natural things—like the fixed 24-hour span of a day—can change after all.

12. “Of my grandfather’s eighty-six years on the planet, he had lived two of them in Alaska, working in gold mines and, later on, various fishing boats. But those two years had expanded, sponge-like, in his memory, overtaking much of the rest.” (Chapter 17, Page 140)

This is an example of how memories, much like time, are malleable in The Age of Miracles. As the days elongate and time eventually becomes divided between endless stretches of radioactive sunlight and freezing darkness, Julia recalls how the initial shift affects people. Humans, she notices, begin to cling to their memories, which become almost suspended in time.

13. “The illnesses were different, I knew, but I sometimes worried that the outcome could be the same. No one knew where the slowing syndrome might lead. ” (Chapter 18, Page 145) As she thinks of Seth’s mother having breast cancer, Julia wonders if her own mother will contract a fatal illness due to “the syndrome. ” Part of growing up includes the realization and acceptance that parents are mortal. Julia’s recognition of her parents’ mortality is not just related to “the slowing”—it’s also related to a natural, firsthand experience with death, as seen in Seth’s ill mother.

14. “Later, when she was asleep and my father was at work, I buried the bra deep inside one of the trash cans in our side yard, so that no one would ever discover how little I understood what seemed so obvious to the other girls I knew.” (Chapter 19, Page 155) Inevitably, not all teenagers mature at the same pace. Julia feels social isolation even more deeply after discovering that, even when she does purchase a bra to fit in with other girls her age, she does not get it quite right.

15. “The smell of the canyon was the same as ever, like soil and sage, but the colors of California were turning starker. All the greens were fading away. Most everything was dying. Still, the canyon buzzed with beetles and mosquitoes and flies—whatever the birds had once eaten was flourishing, unhunted. ” (Chapter 25, Page 192)

There are so many unexpected consequences of “the slowing” that unfurl as the narrative progresses. This excerpt highlights the cause and effect of such a global-wide catastrophe. Because the birds have died out and are no longer present to hunt insects, the insects have in turn flourished.

16. “I had the idea that the people of Circadia had not only escaped the clocks but had also managed to slip loose of time itself. ” (Chapter 26, Page 210) The differences between “real-timers” and “clock-timers” is not cosmetic. It strikes deep at core beliefs and core ways of being. Here, Julia seems to think that “real-timers” exist on a different plane of existence than “clock- timers. ”

17. “But when I turned in the direction of my street, the noise stopped. In its place, I heard the most unbelievable sound: the three syllables of my name shouted on the wind. ” (Chapter 28, Page 219) Julia’s isolation from her peers is a consistent theme in the book. Her crush, Seth Moreno, invites her to watch the astronauts coming back from space with him. Julia is elated to spend time with Seth, and his presence in her life during these trying times becomes a source of both hope and stability.

18. “He never talked about his mother—and I had learned never to ask—but I sometimes sensed her absence in his reactions to certain events, as if he knew even then that there existed under everything a universal grief. ” (Chapter 29, Page 227) The melancholy that pervades this book is highlighted in this quotation. The idea that grief is universal and unavoidable is a thematic undercurrent throughout the entire book. The narrator recognizes that no matter how much time passes or how much one changes, the latent pangs of loss will stay present.

19. “Much study has been devoted to the physical effects of gravity sickness, but more lives than history will ever record were transformed by the subtler psychological shifts that also accompanied the slowing. ” (Chapter 31, Page 246) Julia implies that “the slowing” may have influenced her father’s decision to cheat on her mother. Much like “the slowing” itself, this subtle “psychological shift” is yet another example of a small change that can have major consequences.

20. “What happened after that has been well recorded elsewhere. But I doubt that Seth’s name has appeared in any account but mine.” (Chapter 33, Page 261) Seth is the emotional center of Julia’s life, as many teenagers feel about their first true love. Julia and Seth’s preteen romance is felt more intensely than the environmental calamities that surround them. Even at 23 years old, the memory of her time with Seth still preoccupies her daily thoughts.

21. “Sometimes the saddest stories take the fewest words: I never heard from Seth Moreno again. ” (Chapter 33, Page 265) In a tale of overwhelming loss where Earth rapidly deteriorates, the human tragedy of losing Seth Moreno is one of Julia’s most prominent losses in The Age of Miracles. Despite the systematic deconstruction of life on Earth, Julia is haunted by the loss of her first love more so than the loss of mankind.

22. “It still amazes me how little we really knew. ” (Chapter 34, Page 266) For all the developments of modern science—such as “rockets and satellites and nanotechnology” (266)—the unknown still outweighs the known, and humans were unable to predict “the slowing. ” The random and chaotic nature of the environment mirrors the trajectory of the human lives that populate The Age of Miracles, which are also filled with unexpected twists and turns.

23. “But perhaps the disc will also convey that we carried on. We persisted even as most of the experts gave us only a few more years to live. We told stories and we fell in love. We fought and we forgave. Some still hoped the world might right itself. ” (Chapter 34, Page 268)

The disc is a document that records human life as it was before “the slowing. ” NASA sends the disc into space so that there will be a record of human history in the 21st century, in the event that Earth is completely destroyed. The disc contains human voices, the sounds of waves crashing on a beach, and images of extinct flora and fauna, among other things. This record of humanity is sent out into space in a rocket called The Explorer.

24. “Seth and I used to like to picture how our world would look to visitors someday, maybe a thousand years in the future, after all the humans are gone and all the asphalt has crumbled and peeled away. ” (Chapter 34, Page 269) Julia imagines a hypothetical future with Seth, an act which is a common rite of passage in young love. The dark irony is that the hypothetical situation of Earth’s passing becomes true, and the reality is that there is no future for Julia and Seth.

25. “We dipped our fingers in the wet cement, and we wrote the truest, simplest things we knew—our names, the date, and these words: We were here. ” (Chapter 34, Page 269) The final words of the book speak to a basic truth in The Age of Miracles— human beings want to be known to one another, and that is an incredibly powerful force. In a world in flux, the power of human bonding and connection, seen between Julia and Seth as well as between Julia’s parents in many ways, cannot be understated.

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