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The following quotes illustrate the topic's ambiguity.  Use these to establish the scope of your topic--to begin to specify the subtopics that verbalize various differing opinions on the same issue--to begin to develop a guide to your reading.

    But wild Ambition loves to slide, not stand,
    And Fortune's ice prefers to Virtue's land.
 JohnDryden(1631?1700)Absalom                                  and Achitophel. Part i. Line 198.

    Life moves out of a red flare of dreams
    Into a common light of common hours,
    Until old age bring the red flare again.
  William Butler Yeats (1865?1939)Land of Heart's Desire.

"The misfortunes hardest to bear are these which never came.    James Russell Lowell

"God never built a Christian strong enough to carry today's duties and tomorrow's anxieties piled on the top of them."     Theodore Ledyard Cuyler

"The natural role of twentieth-century man is anxiety."    Norman Mailer

"Borrow trouble for yourself, if that's your nature, but don't lend it to your neighbors."    Rudyard Kipling

"No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings."    William Blake

"Hitch your wagon to a star."    Ralph Waldo Emerson

"You can't hold a man down without staying down with him."    Booker T. Washington

"The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream."    William Shakespeare

"To be ambitious of true honor and of the real glory and perfection of our nature is the very principle and incentive of virtue; but to be ambitious of titles, place, ceremonial respects, and civil pageantry, is . . . vain and little. . ."    Philip Sidney

"Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices: so climbing is performed in the same posture with creeping."    Jonathan Swift

"Ambition is so powerful a passion in the human breast, that however high we reach we are never satisfied."    Niccolò Machiavelli

"He who surpasses or subdues mankind, must look down on the hate of those below."    Lord Byron

"It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them."    George Eliot

"The noblest spirit is most strongly attracted by the love of glory."    Cicero

"All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind."    Joseph Conrad

"When you are aspiring to the highest place, it is honorable to reach the second or even the third rank."    Cicero

"Nothing is too high for the daring of mortals: we storm heaven itself in our folly."    Horace

"Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambitions."    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Abbey, Edward.  Cactus Country.  New York:  Time-Life Books, 1973.
Anderson, Sherwood.  "The Egg."  Short Story Masterpieces. Ed. Robert            Warren and Albert Erskine.  New York,                 Pages 15-30.
Baldwin, James.  Collected Essays : Notes of a Native Son / Nobody Knows            My Name / The Fire Next Time / No Name in the Street / The Devil                 Finds Work / Other Essays.
Chekhov, Anton.  Selected Short Stories.
Dillard, Annie.  Teaching a Stone to Talk:  Expeditions and Encounters.                New York:  Harper and Row, 1982.
DuBois, W. E. B.  The Souls of Black Folk.  New York, NY:  Dodd                           Mead  Company, Inc., 1961.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby.
_ _ _    "Winter Dreams."  Short Story Masterpieces.  Ed. Robert Warren and Albert Erskine.  New York, NY: Dell Publishing, 1980.  Pages 180-205.
Fraser, Antonia.  The Warrior Queens.  New York:  Random House, Inc., 1988.
Hamlin, Garland.  A Son of a Middle Border.  New York, NY:  The                         MacMillan Company, 1968.
Hemingway, Ernest.  "Soldier's Home."  Short Story Masterpieces.                       Ed. Robert Warren  and Albert Erskine.  New York, NY:                          Dell Publishing, 1980.  Pages 207-217.
Kennedy, Edward.  "Now is the Time."  Twentieth Century Speeches.                  Ed.  Brian McArthur.  New York, NY: Penguin Book Company,                         1992.  Pages  459-464.
Kennedy, John F.  "The Torch has Been Passed to a New Generation                    of  Americans."  Twentieth Century Speeches. Ed. Brian                             McArthur.  New York, NY:  Penguin Book Company, 1992.                              Pages 300-304.
Lewis, David.  W. E. B. DuBois:  Biography of a Race.  New York: Henry,  Holt, and Co., 1993.
Mason, Bobbi Ann.  "Shilou." The Best American Short Stories 1981.                   Ed. Hortense Calisher.  Boston, MA:  Houghton Mifflin                                 Company,  1981.  Pages 171-184.
Matthiessen, Peter.  Blue Meridian.  New York:  Random House, Inc., 1970.
_ _ _    The Snow Leopard. New York:  The Viking Press, 1978.
_ _ _  The Eastern Slope.  New York:  The Viking Press, 1959
McPhearson, James M.  Marching Towards Freedom.
Orwell, George.  1984.
Plato.  "The Republic." Writing About the World.  Vol. 1.  Ed.Susan  McCleod.  Orlando, FL:  Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1991.  Pages 260-268.
Puller, Lewis B.  Fortunate Son.  New York:  Grove Weidenfeld, 1991.
Reagan, Ronald.  "A Time for Choosing." Twentieth Century Speeches.  Ed. Brian McArthur.  New York, NY: Penguin Book Company, 1992.Pages 352-356.
Thomas, Dylan.  Selected Essays.
Thomas, Lewis.  "The Unforgetable Fire."  Late Night Thoughts.Ed.  Thomas Lear. Canada:  The Viking Press, 1983.
Thoreau, Henry David. Walden and Civil Disobedience.  New York:
New American Library, 1980.
Thucydides.  "The Funeral Oration of Pericles."  The Book of Virtues.  Ed.
William J. Bennett.  Neew York, NY:  Simon and Schuster,                      1993.  Pages   243-248.
Washington, Booker T.  Up From Slavery.
Walker, Alice.  "Nobody Was Suppose to Survive." Living By the Word.  Ed.
Vaughn Andrews.  New York:    Hartcourt Brace Jovanovich,                        1988.  Pages 153-163.
_ _ _   "Trying to See My Sister." Living By the Word.  Ed.  Vaughn Andrews. New York Hartcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988. Pages  18-28.
_ _ _   "The Universe Responds."  Living By the Word.  Ed.  Vaughn Andrews.  New York:  Hartcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988. Pages     185-185.
Wills, Garry.  Certain Trumpets:  The Call of Leaders.  New York:  Simon and
Schuster, 1994.
Woolf, Virginia.  A Room of One's Own.