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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

by Laurence Sterne

Education Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

A curious observer of nature, had he been worth the inventory of all Job's stock—though by the bye, your curious observers are seldom worth a groat—would have given the half of it, to have heard Corporal Trim and my father, two orators so contrasted by nature and education, haranguing over the same bier. (5.6.5)

This passage shows how nature (what you're born with) and education (what you learn) are essential-but-different parts of someone's style. Education seems to be something that takes you away from nature—but is that good or bad?

Quote #2

On Lady-day, which was on the 25th of the same month in which I date my geniture,—my father set upon his journey to London, with my eldest brother Bobby, to fix him at Westminster school (1.4.9)

Bobby is away at school for the whole first half of the book, and he dies at school without ever coming home. It's interesting that Tristram can figure out when he was conceived because it happened around the same time that Bobby went to school. There's almost something lethal about school in Tristram Shandy: Bobby's education sets the stage for Tristram to supplant him. Although we wouldn't recommend trying that excuse with your teachers.

Quote #3

You are a person free from as many narrow prejudices of education as most men. (1.19.4)

Education replaced empty minds with open minds—but not in Tristram Shandy. Instead, education brings us grammar sticklers and people who can't stop saying, "Well, actually …" Rather than enlarging your mind, education closes it off.

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