My Family and Other Animals


Gerald Durrell

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Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of My Family and Other Animals published in 1956.
Part 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

"Didn't you notice?" she asked. "None of them had a bathroom."

Mr. Beeler stared at Mother with bulging eyes.

"But Madame," he wailed in genuine anguish, "what for you want a bathroom? Have you not got the sea?"

Related Characters: Mother (speaker), Mr. Beeler (speaker)
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1, Chapter 2 Quotes

The notice read: "BEWAR—EARWIG NEST—QUIAT PLESE." It was only remarkable in that the two correctly spelled words were biological ones.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker)
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

As the days passed, I came gradually to understand them. What had at first been a confused babble became a series of recognizable separate sounds. Then, suddenly, these took on meaning, and slowly and haltingly I started to use them myself; then I took my newly acquired words and strung them into ungrammatical and stumbling sentences. Our neighbors were delighted, as though I had conferred some delicate compliment by trying to learn their language.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker)
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1, Chapter 4 Quotes

"He appears to have only one interest," said Larry bitterly, "and that's this awful urge to fill things with animal life. I don't think he ought to be encouraged in that. Life is fraught with danger as it is. I went to light a cigarette only this morning and a damn great bumblebee flew out of the box."

Related Characters: Larry Durrell (speaker), Gerry Durrell, Mother, Leslie Durrell, Margo Durrell
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:

From my point of view, however, the most important thing was that we devoted some of our time to natural history, and George meticulously and carefully taught me how to observe and how to note down observations in a diary. At once my enthusiastic but haphazard interest in nature became focused, for I found that by writing things down I could learn and remember much more.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), George
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1, Chapter 5 Quotes

First, since he was obviously a scientist of considerable repute (and I could have told this by his beard), he was to me a person of great importance. In fact he was the only person I had met until now who seemed to share my enthusiasm for zoology. Secondly, I was extremely flattered to find that he treated me and talked to me exactly as though I were his own age.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), Dr. Theodore Stephanides
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: Conversation Quotes

"Don't be ridiculous. Whoever heard of moving into a larger house because you've invited some friends to stay?"

"What's the matter with the idea? It seems a perfectly sensible solution to me; after all, if you say there's no room here, the obvious thing to do is to move."

Related Characters: Larry Durrell (speaker), Mother (speaker), Gerry Durrell, Leslie Durrell, Margo Durrell
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 7 Quotes

"A most insanitary procedure," said Mother, "more likely to spread disease than cure it. I dread to think what would have caught if we'd really kissed his feet."

"But I kissed his feet," said Margo, surprised.

Related Characters: Mother (speaker), Margo Durrell (speaker), Gerry Durrell
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:

I toyed with the idea that it may have found itself without a pair of clean wing-cases to put on that morning and had to borrow its younger brother's pair, but I eventually decided that this idea, however enchanting, could not be described as scientific.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), Roger
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 8 Quotes

The label, which was a nice blend of scientific and sentimental, read: Egg of Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca). Laid by Madame Cyclops.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), Madame Cyclops
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

"It sounds the most unlikely story."

"Here in Corfu," said Theodore, his eyes twinkling with pride, "anything can happen."

Related Characters: Dr. Theodore Stephanides (speaker), Larry Durrell (speaker)
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 9 Quotes

I grew very fond of these scorpions. I found them to be pleasant, unassuming creatures with, on the whole, the most charming habits.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker)
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:

Since no one had bothered to explain things to him, Roger was under the mistaken impression that the family were being attacked, and that it was his duty to defend them. As Lugaretzia was the only stranger in the room, he came to the logical conclusion that she must be the responsible party, so he bit her in the ankle.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), Larry Durrell, Roger, Lugaretzia
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:

He was, in fact, performing a very necessary and humane service, as anyone who had seen the cats would agree. So my lessons in French were being continuously interrupted while the consul leaped to the window to send yet another cat to a happier hunting ground.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), The Belgian Consul
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 10 Quotes

With the summer came Peter to tutor me, a tall, handsome young man, fresh from Oxford, with decided ideas on education which I found rather trying to begin with. But gradually the atmosphere of the island worked its way insidiously under his skin, and he relaxed and became quite human.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), Peter
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:

While I was at work on my masterpiece...Peter and Margo would take a stroll in the sunken garden to look at the flowers. To my surprise, they had both suddenly become very botanically minded.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), Margo Durrell, Peter
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 11 Quotes

A pot of black paint was produced and laboriously, in rather trickly capitals, I traced her name along the side: THE BOOTLE-BUMTRINKET. There it was; not only an unusual name, but an aristocratically hyphenated one as well. In order to ease Mother's mind I had to promise that I would refer to the boat only as the Bootle in conversation with strangers.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), Larry Durrell, Mother, Leslie Durrell
Related Symbols: The Bootle-Bumtrinket
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 12 Quotes

For a week or so the wind played with the island, patting it, stroking it, humming to itself among the bare branches. Then there was a lull, a few days' strange calm; suddenly, when you least expected it, the wind would be back. But it was a changed wind, a mad, hooting, bellowing wind that leaped down on the island and tried to blow it into the sea.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker)
Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3, Chapter 14 Quotes

I was not, however, the least impressed by this last bit of information; I had met a number of people who professed to be interested in birds, and who had turned out (after careful questioning) to be charlatans who did not know what a hoopoe looked like...

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), Mother, Kralefsky
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:

"Most people say that as one gets older one believes nothing and is surprised at nothing, so that one becomes more receptive to ideas. Nonsense! All the old people I know have had their minds locked up like grey, scaly oysters since they were in their teens."

Related Characters: Mrs. Kralefsky (speaker), Gerry Durrell
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3, Chapter 15 Quotes

The Magenpies, obviously suspecting Larry of being a dope smuggler, had fought valiantly with the tin of bicarbonate of soda, and had scattered its contents along a line of books, so that they looked like a snow-covered mountain range.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), Larry Durrell, The Magenpies
Page Number: 211
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3, Chapter 17 Quotes

Once the thing was explained, of course, it was simple. It never even occurred to me that the procedure was unusual. I knew one wasn't allowed home for weekends from an English prison, but this was Corfu, and in Corfu anything could happen.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), Alecko, Kosti
Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:

Mother had, after considerable mental effort, managed to commit to memory two or three Greek words. This lack of vocabulary had a restrictive effect on her conversation at the best of times, but when she was faced with the ordeal of exchanging small talk with a murderer she promptly forgot all the Greek she knew.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), Mother, Kosti
Page Number: 251
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3, Chapter 18 Quotes

"I assure you the house is a death-trap. Every conceivable nook and cranny is stuffed with malignant faunae waiting to pounce...A simple, innocuous action like lighting a cigarette is fraught with danger. Even the sanctity of my bedroom is not respected. First, I was attacked by a scorpion...Now we have snakes in the bath and huge flocks of albatrosses flapping around the house, making noises like defective plumbing."

Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:
No matches.