Age of Iron
by J.M. Coetzee
Age of Iron Mortality Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"When I was a child," I said, "I used to do downhills on a bicycle with no brakes to speak of. It belonged to my elder brother. He would dare me. I was completely without fear. Children cannot conceive of what it is to die. It never crosses their minds that they may not be immortal." (1.68)
Now that Mrs. Curren is dying, she starts to reflect on other people's attitudes towards death, including children's views. She used to behave recklessly as a kid without thinking twice about the consequences. Doesn't it kind of seem like Mrs. Curren sees death all over the place now?
"I think of prisoners standing on the brink of the trench into which their bodies will tumble. They plead with the firing squad, they weep, they joke, they offer bribes, they offer everything they possess: the rings off their fingers, the clothes off their backs. The soldiers laugh. For they will take it all anyway, and the gold from their teeth too. (1.139)
In short, you can't cheat death.
My existence from day to day has become a matter of averting my eyes, of cringing. Death is the only truth left. Death is what I cannot bear to think. At every moment when I am thinking of something else, I am not thinking death, am not thinking the truth. (1.140)
Jeez, how awful does Mrs. Curren's life sound? She can't enjoy the time she has left on Earth because she's thinking about death all the time. On top of all this, she's convinced that when she's thinking about something else, she's living a lie.