13 Literary Quotes To Help You Feel More Optimistic In 2017

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2017 has been a rough year... and we're less than three months in. Between the stress of Trump's administration, which is literally being declared a public health threat, trans students potentially all losing federal protection in school, James Baldwin's I Am Not Your Negro being as real today as it was decades ago, and on a lesser, but still existentially painful note, Hollywood continuing to blatantly and disrespectfully whitewash films that should have white people nowhere near the lead role. Nowadays it's hard to have a heart, painful to have compassion, and overwhelming to be empathetic. But nevertheless, we keep trying.

Though hope can often seem lost, we don't need to give in and quit. People before us, and people today, have fought too hard for that. When you feel like you can't handle the world, surround yourself with words, visuals, songs, whatever it is that inspires you and reminds you that it's all worth fighting for. Books are, as they are in almost every situation, a great choice. Although, there could have been a list of hundreds of quotes (maybe another time), below are thirteen quotes that will (hopefully) leave you feeling more optimistic in 2017.

And, if none of these work for you, share with us some quotes you think might have worked better.

1“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."

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- To Kill A Mockingbird

2“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

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- Kafka On The Shore

3“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”

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- Song of Solomon

4“Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry.”

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- The Catcher in the Rye

5“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

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- Lady Windermere's Fan

6“You are your best thing”

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- Beloved

7“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

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- Anne Frank's Tales from the Secret Annex

8“It’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.”

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- To Kill A Mockingbird

9“There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.”

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- The Two Towers

10"What happens when people open their hearts? They get better."

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- Norwegian Wood

11“Anger is better. There is a sense of being in anger. A reality and presence. An awareness of worth. It is a lovely surging.”

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- The Bluest Eye

12“I'd rather be myself," he said. "Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.”

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- Brave New World

13“I like it when somebody gets excited about something. It's nice.”

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- The Catcher in the Rye