Quotes

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on August 5, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 529

Everything In Its Place was written by Oliver Sacks. As a neurologist and author, Sacks’s collection of essays looks to highlight the things he found both joyful and challenging throughout his life. Therefore, quotes pulled from his essays are meant to highlight life in a realistic way.

The first essay,...

(The entire section contains 529 words.)

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this Everything in Its Place study guide. You'll get access to all of the Everything in Its Place content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

  • Summary
  • Themes
  • Characters
  • Analysis
  • Quotes
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Everything In Its Place was written by Oliver Sacks. As a neurologist and author, Sacks’s collection of essays looks to highlight the things he found both joyful and challenging throughout his life. Therefore, quotes pulled from his essays are meant to highlight life in a realistic way.

The first essay, “Water Babies,” tells of the author's early life in the water.

Swimming is instinctive at this age, so, for better or worse, we never ‘learned’ to swim.

This quote speaks to the importance of immersion in things at a young age. Given that he was “introduced” to water at a week old, his love for water was almost intuitive. This allows readers to see the importance of creating behaviors which are meant to become second nature. As Sacks was introduced to water at such a young age, it (figuratively) became a part of him. As learners, when we submerge ourselves into most things, we come to find the challenges associated with them as less stressful given how accustomed we are to the thing itself. Sacks goes on to discuss the lack of fear associated with behaviors and skills that have been embedded in one’s identity. Essentially, sometimes the thing which we do not formally learn are the things which we tend to be the best at.

In another essay, “Remembering South Kensington,” Sacks discusses the importance of museums in his life.

They [museums] have played a central role in my life in stimulating the imagination and showing me the order of the world in vivid, concrete form.

This quote illustrates the importance of both memory and the natural state of things. Sacks states that books only provide us with words, unlike museums, which provide “exemplars of nature.” Mirroring the earlier quote, this quote speaks to the importance of immersion into important things early in life. As a teacher, I find numerous students who claim to have no imagination. They state that they cannot read a book and “see” what is happening. On the other hand, a museum offers “vivid” images to inspire. Sacks seems to have understood this concept; he recognizes that some people need to be inspired by “concrete form[s].”

One final quote comes from the chapter entitled “Reading the Fine Print.” As Sacks aged, he began to lose his eyesight. As an avid reader, Sacks found himself dismayed by the lack of choice when it came to texts found in large print.

Did publishers think the visually impaired were intellectually impaired, too?

This quote allows readers to question the stereotypes associated with specific handicaps. Sacks found that most large print books were “how-to” books. Although he wanted to hold a “real book made of paper,” the limited publishings did not allow this. Sacks came to question the publishers of large print books and the subject matter available to readers needing larger fonts. As for the quote, it should make readers consider why some things are not made available to persons with specific handicaps. Essentially, why should a handicap limit people? According to Sacks, they should not. This speaks to Sacks’s understanding of the shortcomings of not only publishers but the world at large.

Illustration of PDF document

Download Everything in Its Place Study Guide

Subscribe Now
Previous

Analysis