Mmkay, this is a really powerful-but really long- quote and I really hope you take just a few minutes out of whatever you're doing and read it.
"I was telling you about evil, now that I know what it is. It's what makes a man get drunk and press a red hot poker on his child's back. It's what makes men have to queue for hours at the dock gates for a chance of a job when there are only a dozen jobs for a hundred men, so they fight each other in order to get them, and the foreman laugh and egg them on. It's what takes an old couple who've got nothing left but each other and splits them up to go in the workhouse so they each die alone. It's ... what takes rent out of tenements and slums and refuses the responsibility of mending the drains, so that children have to wade knee-deep through filth to get into their houses....Don't interrupt. Don't open your mouth. Listen to me and learn.
Evil....it's what makes a family starve--the family I heard about the other day, five of them, father and mother and three children all dead, with nothing in their little room, nothing, because they'd pawned every spoon and every blanket and every chair, and there was no work, and they starved to death. And I've never gone without a meal in my whole life. My city. The same city you live in--this happens. That's evil. And you know what's at the heart of it all? Eh? The gnawing poison cancer destroying and eating and laying waste at the heart of it all? It's not only you, you poor pitiful man; it's me, too. Me and ten thousand others. Because we have shares in the companies that own those buildings and doesn't repair the drains, and we make money out of the docks that prosper by denying men work, and because we've never looked. All this time, all the money we've made by buying and selling and buying again--we never knew what it meant. Didn't know what a pound meant. Didn't know what a shilling meant.
No, I never intended this. You didn't deserve it. But I did it. Just as I made that family starve and put those men out of work and I drove that man mad with misery and despair so that he tortured his child with a red-hot poker. I did it, without knowing. So I'm guilty, me and all the other share-holders and speculators and capitalists. You know where evil is? It's not just in you, it's in....pretending not to know things once you've seen them. Seeing something bad and shutting your eyes, turning away. All right, I didn't know. But there's no excuse now that I do." Sally Lockhart (Philup Pullman) pg. 349-351, The Tiger in the Well.
I hope you took the time to read this. Because eve though some of it might not make sense out of context (and 19th century England) it's all true.
Do you have any powerful quotes? Feel free to post them in the comments!