All That Fall Quotes
by Samuel Beckett

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It is suicide to be abroad. But what is it to be at home, Mr. Tyler, what is it to be at home? A lingering dissolution. Now we are white with dust from head to foot.

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Here, Mrs. Rooney addresses Mr. Tyler after hearing about his daughter's barrenness. She is responding to a passing van, which has spread literal dust, but she is also exploring the idea that they are both unable to have grandchildren and are, in this way, already covered in dust—rendered useless to future generations. In the middle of a long journey that includes an uncomfortable amount of waiting, she is wondering what it means to leave home, to eschew its comforts or lack thereof, and to try to go far from it ("suicide," as she says). This dramatic wording points to her obsession with death and Beckett's overall existential exploration, as well as a particular interest in the role of children in postponing death.

Don’t mind me. Don’t take any notice of me. I do not exist. The fact is well known.

At the station, Mrs. Rooney says this to a child. She is upset at being ignored, and it is telling that a child has aggravated her. Since she is not being acknowledged, she is afraid she may not exist. Her passive-aggressive delivery (telling him not to mind her while clearly asking him to pay attention) tells us that she has built up rage over being ignored. It also gives us an understanding of her frustration as an older woman, suddenly invisible to men and boys. She is confident in this narrative and sees herself as a victim, seeing the "fact" of her non-existence as "well known." She uses this moment of anger to both protest and internalize the lack of attention paid to her (and, therefore, to her existence).


(The entire section is 469 words.)