Best William Faulkner Quotes on Life, Love, and Writing

Mayuri Meshram
By Mayuri Meshram  - Editor

Searching for inspiration to ignite your soul and ignite your creativity? Look no further than William Faulkner quotes.

William Faulkner’s writing has captivated readers for decades with its rich imagery, complex characters, and haunting themes. But it’s his pithy and memorable quotes that continue to resonate with us today.

In this article, we’ll explore some of William Faulkner’s most famous quotes and the timeless wisdom they contain. So sit back, relax, and get ready to be inspired by the words of one of literature’s greatest luminaries.

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Who is William Faulkner

William Faulkner was an American writer widely regarded as one of the greatest American authors of the 20th century, known for his distinctive writing style, complex characters, and deep insights into the human experience. Faulkner’s most famous works include novels such as “The Sound and the Fury” “As I Lay Dying,” and “Absalom, Absalom!” as well as numerous short stories.

Here are a few interesting facts about Faulkner:

  • Faulkner had a lifelong love of aviation, and he took flying lessons in his 50s. He even owned a small plane, which he used to commute between his homes in Mississippi and Virginia.
  • Faulkner was a prolific writer, producing 19 novels and over 125 short stories during his career.
  • In addition to his literary pursuits, Faulkner also worked as a Hollywood screenwriter in the 1930s and 1940s. He contributed to the scripts for films such as “To Have and Have Not” and “The Big Sleep.”
  • He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949, and his writing has had a profound influence on subsequent generations of writers. Faulkner died in 1962 at the age of 64.

Most Famous William Faulkner Quotes

The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.

William Faulkner Quotes

I am durn if it didn’t give me the creeps.

You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

William Faulkner Quotes

Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.

Don’t do what you can do – try what you can’t do.

William Faulkner Quotes

I am not crying now. I am not anything.

The reason for living was to get ready to stay dead for a long time.

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.

William Faulkner Quotes

My mother is a fish.

Sometimes I lose faith in human nature for a time; I am assailed by doubt.

Unless you’re ashamed of yourself now and then, you’re not honest.

William Faulkner Quotes

The dead air shapes the dead darkness, further away than seeing shapes the dead earth.

Don’t bother just to be better than others. Try to be better than yourself.

The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.

William Faulkner Quotes

I don’t know if a little music aint about the nicest thing a fellow can have.

Life is a process of preparing to be dead for a long time.

William Faulkner Quotes

One licks less. One lick less and we could be quiet.

Be scared. You can’t help that. But don’t be afraid.

Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain.

William Faulkner Quotes

I know my own sin. I know that I deserve my punishment. I do not begrudge it.

Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll

absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.[/alert-warning]

William Faulkner Quotes Success

Success is feminine and like a woman, if you cringe before her, she will override you.

William Faulkner Quotes

Sometimes I think it ain’t none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way.

Life was created in the valleys. It blew up onto the hills on the old yours, the old lusts, the old despairs. That’s why you must walk up the hills do you can ride down.

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any of which, can supply the lack of the others.

William Faulkner Quotes

If a story is in you, it has to come out.

Don’t be a writer. Be writing.

To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.

William Faulkner Quotes

At first, I would not go because there might be something I could do and I would not go because there might be something I could do and I would have to haul her back.

I tried to do as she would wish it. The Lord will pardon me and excuse the conduct of them He sent me.

Dreams have only one owner at a time. That’s why dreamers are lonely.

William Faulkner Quotes

I’m bad and I’m going to hell, and I don’t care. I’d rather be in hell than anywhere where you are.

Now and then a fellow gets to thinking. About all the sorrow and afflictions in this world; how it’s liable to strike anywhere, like lightning.

A man is the sum of his misfortunes. One day you’d think misfortune would get tired but then time is your misfortune.

William Faulkner Quotes

I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not.

Wonder. Go on and wonder.

We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.

William Faulkner Quotes

The last sound on the worthless earth will be two human beings trying to launch a homemade spaceship and already quarreling about where they are going next.

Cash is wet to the skin. Yet the motion of the saw has not faltered, as though it and the arm functioned in a tranquil conviction that rain was an illusion of the mind.

It wasn’t on a balance. I told them that if they wanted it to tote and ride on a balance, they would have to.

William Faulkner Quotes about the past

No man can cause more grief than that one clinging blindly to the vices of his ancestors.

William Faulkner Quotes

In writing, you must kill all your darlings.

Not that Miss Emily would have accepted charity.

Facts and truth really don’t have much to do with each other.

William Faulkner Quotes

The next time you try to seduce anyone, don’t do it with talk, with words. Women know more about words than men ever will. And they know how little they can ever possibly mean.

When she got to be thirty and was still single, we were … vindicated.

No battle is ever won…victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.

William Faulkner Quotes

A mule will labor ten years willingly and patiently for you, for the privilege of kicking you once.

Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.

How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home?

With nothing left, she would … cling to that which had robbed her, as people will.

Talk, talk, talk: the utter and heartbreaking stupidity of words.

Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town . . .’

We have to start teaching ourselves not to be afraid.

William Faulkner Quotes on Love

You don’t love because: you love despite; not for the virtues, but despite the faults.

He had a word, too. Love, he called it. But I had been used to words for a long time. I knew that that word was like the others: just a shape to fill a lack.

Perhaps they were right about putting love into books. Perhaps it could not live anywhere else.

The saddest thing about love, Joe, is that not only the love cannot last forever, but even the heartbreak is soon forgotten.

I am the chosen of the Lord, for who He loves, so doeth He chastiseth. But I will be firm if He dont take some curious ways to show it, seems.

After her father’s death, she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all.

Colonel Sartoris invented an involved tale to the effect that Miss Emily’s father had loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this way of repaying.

Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.

Dammit, sir,” Judge Stevens said, “will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?

I feel like a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth.

Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.

She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body.

He needs to be sent to Jackson . . . How can anybody live in a house like this?

Father said it used to be a gentleman who was known by his books; nowadays he is known by the ones he has not returned.

So that was it. And you were trying to tell Caddy and you couldn’t tell her. You wanted to, but you couldn’t, could you? Of course, Caddy won’t. Of course, Caddy won’t. Just wait till I dress.

I’m a lady. You might not believe that from my offspring, but I am.

Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.

It’s not when you realise that nothing can help you–religion, pride, anything–it’s when you realise that you dont need any aid.

Caddy smelled like trees and like when she says we were asleep.

From that time on her front door remained closed, save for a period of six or seven years, when she was about forty, during which she gave lessons in china painting.

To live anywhere in the world today and be against equality because of race or color is like living in Alaska and being against snow.

She carried her head high enough—even when we believed that she was fallen.

A gentleman accepts the responsibility of his actions and bears the burden of their consequences.

They aint no luck going be on no place where one of they own chillen’s name aint never spoke.

Did you find these quotes by William Faulkner inspiring?

Which William Faulkner quote spoke to you the most? We encourage you to share your favorite quote with us in the comments below and share this article with your friends to spread the beauty and complexity of Faulkner’s work.

Let’s keep his legacy alive and continue to explore the depths of the human experience through his powerful words.

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By Mayuri Meshram Editor
Mayuri is a professional content writer, she loves motivating people and inspiring them to pursue their dreams. Sharing quotes, proverbs, and sayings of great authors to touch people's lives to make it better.