What are the 20 most important quotes (ranked) to know for The Birds short story by Daphne Du Maurier?

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A list of the twenty most important quotes from 'The Birds' novella by Daphne Du Maurier would be a very long list - perhaps it is best to divide them neatly into themes and request individual posts for each theme. For example, let us deal here with important quotes to learn on the psychological theme of the work.

Psychological issues in 'The Birds' include the perceived need for humans to seize control, power, dominance and superiority over each other and over Nature in order to feel safe. Humans, however seem unable to admit this or to accept that Nature can often overturn the works of Man. For example, when we think about it, many diseases are in fact, caused by organisms from Nature such as bacteria. A tsunami can paralyse an entire country for months. In the novella, however, people can't get their heads around the fact that birds could stage a massacre against humans.

A useful quote for this theme would the words spoken by Nat. He tries to dismiss the actions of the birds by referring to their natural habits. When the first bird threatens Nat alone, he tries saying that it is only natural for it to be scared :

'frightened, he supposed, and bewildered, the bird, seeking shelter, had stabbed at him in the darkness. Once more he settled himself to sleep.'

The human, it seems, can sleep better in his bed at night after reassuring his mind with plausible causes for inexplicable natural events. He makes the classic misdiagnosis error, however, in allowing the most obvious symptom to mask other potential underlying possibilities. 

Another related psychological theme is the way in which humans deal with psychological stress when natural events can no longer be explained away.

For example, the noisy onslaught of birds hitting the roof, doors and windows for days goes beyond coincidence. The kids deal with their fear by releasing their stress through laughter:

'This was the way to face up to it. This was the spirit. If they could keep up like this, hang on like this until seven, when the first news bulletin came through, they would not have done too badly.'