Sometimes a Great Notion Quotes



Motto on plaque nailed to wall

This is the motto by which Hank Stamper lives and he is true to it. His assertiveness is now coming into conflict like never before, however, as the owner of a family-run logging business finds himself at odds with the union loggers on strike. The film adapted from the novel owns a unique place in history as the very first film to air on HBO. A few years later when it aired for the first time on a non-cable TV network, an inexplicable decision was made to retitle the movie Never Give an Inch.

Because sometimes the only way to keep from losing everything is to give everything up. Because sometimes strength must for the sake of winning give in to—


In a certain sense, the story of the novel is a narrative trek through the consciousness of Hank Stamper as events beyond his control conspire with the consequences of his action to move him toward a recognition. That recognition is that the strength and independence of not backing down and never given an inch can at times, under certain circumstances, look selfish and weak by comparison. The lesson learned too late by Hank is how to recognize those particular circumstances in time.

Yes; all of them flee the shadows for the light. Some more, some less than others.


Here the narrator is penetrating into the mind a union rep whose job is to get workers on board as a single entity with a single mindset. He is also a representative for collective thought and action and thus is situated as an opposing figure to the independent-minded Hank. In his experience, all workers come around eventually because they are all out for what’s best for them as individuals. The only differentiation is the level of commitment.

To know a thing you have to trust what you know, and all that you know, and as far as you know in whatever direction your knowing


While the language is confusing, perhaps, the centerpiece of the philosophy is simple. Trust is another word for commitment and you can only commit to something based on what you know. All the characters in the novel pursue a truth to which they hold fast and tight. None of them are in possession of the all the facts, but then that’s the whole point. If a person waits until all the facts are confirmed, trust becomes unnecessary. The rugged individualist Hank is clearly the protagonist of the story; his is the pioneer spirit being celebrated. The book does not necessarily argue that he is always right, however; it just argues that he remains true to what he trusts is right.

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