The Library of Babel
How we cite our quotes:
Now that my eyes can hardly make out what I myself have written, I am preparing to die, a few leagues from the hexagon where I was born. (2)
When your narrator is a man on his deathbed, you know mortality is going to be a theme in the story.
When I am dead, compassionate hands will throw me over the railing; my tomb will be the unfathomable air, my body will sink for ages, and will decay and dissolve in the wind engendered by my fall, which shall be infinite. (2)
Whoa, what a grave! Does this mean that there are bodies falling through the ventilation shafts all the time? Could you be sitting and reading a book in the Library while corpses fall past? Or are we just being a little morbid?
In order to grasp the distance that separates the human and the divine, one has only to compare these crude trembling symbols which my fallible hand scrawls on the cover of a book with the organic letters inside – neat, delicate, deep black, and inimitably symmetrical. (4)
The librarian's fallibility is a mark of his mortality. Contrast that with the perfection of the Library. One of these things is going to die, and the other will exist forever. Can you guess which is which?