Edition used: Harper Collins, New York, New York, 2004

1.) ‘Thank God, Rutherford,' he said, ‘you are capable of imagining things.' pg. 17;

Here Conway expresses his relief that he can tell his story to someone who has the capacity to believe what he is going to hear.

2.) Quia impossibile est. pg. 19;

Rutherford reminds the narrator of this quote by Tertullian which means in a free translation: It is certain, because it is impossible. It reflects the belief in the impossible, which surrounds Conway's story.

3.) The will of God or the lunacy of man . . . the will of man and the lunacy of God. pg. 41;

These thoughts from Conway occurred when the plane first landed near the Valley of Blue Moon. He didn't know it, but they would more than adequately express the impossibility of Shangri-La.

4.) . . . they could see, far away and approaching them down the slope, the figures of men. ‘Providence!' whispered Miss Brinklow. pg. 56;

The sudden appearance of help in the midst of the unknown is like the Hand of God reaching down to them in the mind of Miss Brinklow.

5.) ‘We want to return to civilization as soon as possible.' ‘And are you so very certain that you are away from it?' pg. 59;

This quote from Chang reveals the idea that the outside world may not offer all the benefits that Mallinson thinks it does.

6.) . . . there are times in life when the most comfortable thing is to do nothing at all. pg. 65;

Conway explains this to the other three travelers to help them adjust to a situation they can't change.

7.) But the feeling was only momentary, and soon merged in the deeper sensation, half mystical, half visual, of having reached at last some place that was an end, a finality. pg. 68;

Conway feels the sensation of having finally found a place of comfort and safety in his life as he arrives in Shangri-La.

8.) They devote themselves, madam, to contemplation and to the pursuit of wisdom. pg. 100;

This is Chang's explanation for what the lamas do with their time. It will be the foundation for understanding how the purpose of Shangri-La is to prepare to save a world on the brink of disaster.

9.) Nothing of importance, my dear sir, that could not have been foreseen in 1920, or that will not be better understood in 1940. pg. 115;

Chang makes this observation about the relativity of time: it goes on, and understanding it comes only with its passing.

10.) . . . all the loveliest things were transient and perishable, and that war, lust, and brutality might someday crush them until there were no more left in the world . . . Then, my son, when the strong have devoured each other, the Christian ethic may at last be fulfilled, and the meek shall inherit the earth. pp. 164-165;

The High Lama makes this observation as a way of explaining the ultimate purpose of Shangri-La.

11.) Perhaps the exhaustion of the passions is the beginning of wisdom. pg. 185;

Conway says this as an explanation for how he became the kind of man he is.

12.) . . . the two worlds were finally beyond reconciliation, and one of them hung, as always, by a thread. pg. 219;

Conway has this thought as he bids Mallinson good-bye. It is his realization that the outside is more than ever in need of what Shangri-La has to offer.


Cite this page:

Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Long Way Gone".