Cool Hand Luke, the character played by actor, Paul Newman, and his memorable quotes, more often responses rather than unprompted statements. Yet, taken into everyday context, all are prolific wisdoms that seem commonly appropriate and familiar.
For instance, one Cool Hand Luke quote: “Ain't heard much listenin’ to yet. Just everybody handing out rules. ", stands out as a generality everyone has experienced at one time or another. A lot of people posture as if their words are rules. Yet, they patently don't listen to what others say.
Another of the Cool Hand Luke quotes: “Nuthin’ can be a pretty cool hand. ", typifies the character's understanding that “Less is More". And that the more complex things are the more complications are apt to arise.
"Thing about bad food is you got to eat a lot of it. " In this Cool Hand Luke quote, “food" is a mere representation of the extremes in the character's life. He knows when it's bad only when he's had too much.
"Boss, when you do somethin’ to me, you better do it because you got to or want to. Not because it's your damn job. ", is a Cool Hand Luke quote that speaks of man's need to excuse lack of accountability for his actions. , particularly those that fly below the radar of human rights and dignity. This quote forces his captors to evaluate their own actions toward men of lesser freedoms.
"Stop beatin’ it and stop feedin’ off me. " is a quote of his realization of exploitation. One individual is sacrificed for the restitution of the egos of the masses. “They just never did get a piece of my mind. " This quote is a display of survival. Man can endure anything, including brainwashing. Still, he retains control over his over mind. This quote correctly points out that one human being can never fully control the mind of another.
"Hey Old Man. You home tonight?" Here, in this quote, the character, sensing that the end is near, that he's reached the limit of possibility, attempts to touch the Divine as his last act of redemption. He tries to square himself with God, waiting and hoping for answers. This quote speaks of the fraility of man and the power of the infinite.
"Is that your answer Old Man? Your're a hard case too, ain't You?". In the silence of a darkened church, silence is the only answer the character receives. In summation, he admits, confession-like, he lived as hard and unrelenting as he perceives his Maker to be.
"What we have here is failure to communicate. " Cool Hand Luke mimics the words of his “Captain" after Luke's second attempt to escape. His mimicry is a deliberate convolution of the power wielded over him by his prison experience. Like an epitaph on a gravestone, he utters this final quote challenging mankind's obsession for power and addiction to control.
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