1. "When a society decays, it is language that is first to become gangrenous. As a result, social criticism begins with grammar and the re-establishing of meanings"
- Octavio Paz, The Labyrinth of Solitude and Other Writings
2. "Words are tricky. Sometimes you need them to bring out the hurt festering inside. If you don't, it turns gangrenous and kills you. . . . But sometimes words can break a feeling into pieces."
- Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Queen of Dreams
3. "Now, I don’t think about it. Or when I did, I mostly felt a terrible relief. Truly terrible, like a person who’s been told they no longer have to carry the weight of their own gangrenous and rotting left arm. It smells, it hurts, it’s literally killing you—but it’s still the only left arm that you’ll ever have."
- Joshilyn Jackson, The Opposite of Everyone
4. "But if it turns out that she really can adjust them from without? Reshuffle the deck of his past, leave a few cards out, sub in several from a sunnier suit, where was the harm in that? Harm had to be the opposite, didn’t it? Letting the earliest truth metastasize into something that might kill you? The gangrenous spread of one day throughout the life span of a body— wasn’t that something worth stopping?"
- Karen Russell, Vampires in the Lemon Grove
5. "It's not about love. Of course I love the little shit. But he knows too much about me that no one else on the planet knows, and when he's around I have no choice but to think about everything I hate about myself and my past. He's a gangrenous leg attached to my psyche, and I need to hack him off before he infects my whole fucking soul."
- Bart Yates, The Brothers Bishop
6. "But later, standing in triage, surrounded by a pile of bloody rags that had been cut from the body of an eight-year-old boy who was now in surgery, having a gangrenous leg amputated, she felt the black heat rising inside her head again. It made her wish she’d gone with Cooper. What the hell is wrong with people that they’d do these things—to little kids? It"
- John Birmingham, Designated Targets
7. "A cliché is dead matter. It causes gangrene in the prose around it, and sooner or later it eats your brain. You can’t fix a cliché by using it ironically. You can’t make it less gangrenous by appearing to quote it or invert it or joke about it. A cliché isn’t just a familiar, overused saying. It’s the debris of someone else’s thinking, Any group of words that seem to cluster together naturally And enlist in your sentence. The only thing to do with a cliché is send it to the sports page Or the speechwriters, where it will live forever. Volunteer"
- Verlyn Klinkenborg, Several Short Sentences About Writing
8. "And there was something that frightened me much more. If I went to the doctor's tomorrow, and was cured by, say, the weekend, there'd be no relief from anxiety, just different anxiety. Even as the antibiotics hosed down my genitals, the mind's bacteria would be forming new armies. I'd come up with something to get me down... Was this the case with everyone -- everyone, that is, who wasn't already a thalidomide baked-bean, or a gangrenous imbecile, or degradingly poor, or irretrievably ugly, and would therefore have pretty obvious targets for their worries? If so, the notion of 'having problems' -- or 'having a harder life than most people', or 'having a harder life than you usually had' -- was spurious. You don't have problems, only a capacity for feeling anxious about them, which shifts and jostles but doesn't change."
- Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
9. "I lay and cried, and began to feel again, to admit I was human, vulnerable, sensitive. I began to remember how it had been before; how there was that germ of positive creativeness. Character is fate; and damn, I'd better work on my character. I had been withdrawing into a retreat of numbness: it is so much safer not to feel, not to let the world touch one. But my honest self revolted at this, hated me for doing this. Sick with conflict, destructive negative emotions, frozen into disintegration I was, refusing to articulate, to spew forth these emotions - they festered in me, growing big, distorted, like pus-bloated sores. Small problems, mentions of someone else's felicity, evidence of someone else's talents, frightened me, making me react hollowly, fighting jealousy, envy, hate. Feeling myself fall apart, decay, rot, and the laurels wither and fall away, and my past sins and omissions strike me with full punishment and import. All this, all this foul, gangrenous, sludge ate away at"
- Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath