The Cat’s Pause


It is necessary, for the sake of the forward march of the human race, that there should be proud lessons of courage.


The legendary French writer and poet Victor Hugo (1802-1885), in his eternal book Les Misérables, recites the nature of hesitation and indecision likening to a cat’s pause  :

Everyone has noticed the taste which cats have for pausing and lounging between the two leaves of a half-shut door. Who is there who has not said to a cat : ‘Do come in !’ There are men who, when an incident stands half-open before them, have the same tendency to halt in indecision between two resolutions, at the risk of getting crushed through the abrupt closing of the adventure by fate. The over-prudent, cats as they are cats, sometimes incur more danger than the daring. Fauchevelent was of this hesitating nature…

What it takes one to be daring, Victor Hugo explains in the backdrop of the French Revolution:

To dare, that is the price of progress. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the prizes of daring. In order that the Revolution should take place, it does not suffice that Montesquieu should foresee it, that Diderot should preach it, that Beaumarchais should announce it, that Condorcet should calculate it, that Rousseau should premeditate it; it is necessary that Danton should dare it.


It is necessary, for the sake of the forward march of the human race, that there should be proud lessons of courage permanently on the heights. Daring deeds dazzle history and are one of man’s great sources of light. The dawn dares when it rises. To attempt, to brave, to persist, to persevere, to be faithful to one self, to grasp fate bodily, to astound catastrophe by small amount of fear that it occasions us, to hold one’s position, to affront unjust power, to insult drunken victory, to hold one’s position, to stand one’s ground; that is the example which nations need, that is the light which electrifies them.

“The same formidable lightning proceeds from the torch of Prometheus to the daring ones on earth who would not surrender” said Victor Hugo in his indelible work leaving an everlasting effect on the heart and mind of the reader. For it strikes the truth, it is profound, sublime, and all so human. What he said two hundred years ago still goes around –the light from the torch of Prometheus is probably still needed for the sublime conquests of humanity present on earth.


Duygu Bruce





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