| Quote #1
Do you have any possessions? Some? Good. Have you shared them with the poor? No? Then you are what I call a Sadducee. If you are not familiar with the Scriptures, I admit that this won’t help you. But it does help you? So you know the Scriptures? Decidedly, you interest me (1.8).
How interesting that Jean-Baptiste judges you by religious standards, given that he destroys religion later in his confession…
| Quote #2
For we are at the heart of things here. Have you noticed that Amsterdam’s concentric canals resemble the circles of hell? (1.14).
Read Shmoop’s "Setting" for a thorough description of this quote.
| Quote #3
I refused to attribute that success to my own merits and could not believe that the conjunction in a single person of such different and such extreme virtues was the result of chance alone. This is why in my happy life I felt somehow that that happiness was authorized by some higher decree. When I add that I had no religion you can see even better how extraordinary that conviction was. Whether ordinary or not, it served for some time to raise me above the daily routine and I literally soared for a period of years, for which, to tell the truth, I still long in my heart of hearts (2.15).
Jean-Baptiste effectively says "I’m so amazing, there must be a higher power who crafted me by hand." This is satire at its finest; Jean-Baptiste’s only inclination toward belief in a higher power comes not from deference or humility, but from egotism.