25 Inspiring All the Light We Cannot See Quotes

All the Light We Cannot See quotes from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Anthony Doerr will remind you of the power of love and inescapable destiny.

Set during World War II, the story intertwines the lives of Marie-Laure LeBlanc and Werner Pfennig, who come from vastly different backgrounds.

Marie-Laure is a blind French girl forced to flee Paris with her father and seek refuge in the walled city of Saint-Malo.

On the other hand, Werner is a German soldier with a remarkable talent for engineering and radio technology.

As their paths converge in the occupied town of Saint-Malo, their lives become deeply entwined.

The novel explores themes of:

  • love
  • fate
  • the enduring power of human connection

Enjoy these All the Light We Cannot See quotes from Doerr’s work that remind us that even amidst struggles, beauty can be found in the darkest times.

Quotes About Life 

How does the war impact the characters’ views on life? Read on for thoughtful quotes about life from All the Light We Cannot See

1. “We all grew up before we were grown up.”   — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

2. “Don’t you want to be alive before you die?” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

3. “Live faithfully, fight bravely, and die laughing.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

4. “All your life you wait, and then it finally comes, and are you ready?” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

5. “Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

6. “The very life of any creature is a quick-fading spark in fathomless darkness.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

7. “This is life, he thinks, this is why we live, to play like this on a day when winter is finally releasing its grip.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

8. “Werner wonders in the dead of night, isn’t life a kind of corruption? A child is born, and the world sets in upon it.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See Quotes About the Impacts of War

The characters are brought together through war.

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These quotes reflect their feelings and experiences living in occupied France in World War II. 

9. “Doing nothing is as good as collaborating.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

10. “How do you ever know for certain that you are doing the right thing?” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

11. “Every hour, she thinks, someone for whom the war was memory falls out of the world.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

12. “War is a bazaar where lives are traded like any other commodity: chocolate or bullets or parachute silk.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

13. “You know the greatest lesson of history? It’s that history is whatever the victors say it is. That’s the lesson. Whoever wins, that’s who decides the history.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

14. “The war that killed your grandfather killed sixteen million others. One and a half million French boys alone, most of them younger than I was. Two million on the German side. March the dead in a single-file line, and for eleven days and eleven nights, they’d walk past our door.”— Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

Quotes about Light and Blindness

The following All the Light We Cannot See quotes illustrate the important roles light and blindness play both literally and figuratively in Doerr’s prose.

15. “To shut your eyes is to guess nothing of blindness.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

16. “I’d expect that if God wants us to see something, we’ll see it.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

17. “So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

18. “What do we call visible light? We call it color. But the electromagnetic spectrum runs to zero in one direction and infinity in the other, so really, children, mathematically, all of light is invisible.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

19. “When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

20. “The window glows. The slow sandy light of dawn permeates the room. Everything transient and aching; everything tentative. To be here, in this room, high in this house, out of the cellar, with her: it is like medicine.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

21. “The brain is locked in total darkness, of course, children, says the voice. It floats in a clear liquid inside the skull, never in the light. And yet the world it constructs in the mind is full of light. It brims with color and movement.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

What are some inspiring quotes from All the Light We Cannot See?

The characters in All the Light We Cannot See carry on in the face of adversity. Enjoy these quotes about endeavoring to persevere.

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22. “We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

23. “See obstacles as opportunities, Reinhold. See obstacles as inspirations.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

24. “Things hardly ever work on the first try. We’ll make another, a better one.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

25. “Don’t you ever get tired of believing, Madame? Don’t you ever want proof?” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

Building Bonds Across Barriers in All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr’s novel about two unlikely people forging a solid connection is a testament to how beautiful prose and compelling characters can transcend time and space and find their way into readers’ hearts across generations.

Following the worldwide success of the 2014 novel, All the Light We Cannot See was adapted into a limited series by Netflix, set to release in fall 2023.

While set against the backdrop of World War II, many of these quotes force us to consider what we value and would fight for in our lives. 

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