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Helplessness   /hˈɛlpləsnəs/   Listen
Helplessness

noun
1.
Powerlessness revealed by an inability to act.  Synonyms: impuissance, weakness.
2.
The state of needing help from something.
3.
A feeling of being unable to manage.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Helplessness" Quotes from Famous Books



... for Dick than for any one else,' declared Alan, who had joined the group; he could not imagine a more terrible life than the one of utter helplessness to which ...
— Chatterbox, 1906 • Various

... impressions; that somewhere in the process of 'being educated' they had lost that simple and almost automatic response to the human appeal, that old healthful reaction resulting in activity from the mere presence of suffering or of helplessness; that they are so sheltered and pampered they have no chance even to ...
— Twenty Years At Hull House • Jane Addams

... he roused her as gently as he could. It was helplessness, as much as anything else, that had made him leave her alone; but a woman needs to weep now and then. ...
— Astounding Stories of Super-Science, June, 1930 • Various

... time, I guess, I realized the awful helplessness that comes over the Psiless when a TK invokes his telekinetic power. I wanted no part of the future this corn-fed oracle had conjured up. But it might be the ...
— Vigorish • Gordon Randall Garrett

... upon his evident helplessness, Mr. Lloyd gave him a good deal of assistance, or allowed Mary—the ever-willing and ever-helpful Mary—to do so. But after a while he thought Bert should run alone, and prohibited further aid. Thus ...
— Bert Lloyd's Boyhood - A Story from Nova Scotia • J. McDonald Oxley

... chafed against the helplessness which prevented him from following up the clue he had already obtained, but still more did he chafe against his inability to renew his acquaintance with the woman who had ...
— The Rider of Waroona • Firth Scott

... already drawn the dreadful eyes of those grim, folded figures perched along the cliff-tops miles away; and now, as if in answer to his cry they came fluttering darkly over him. Seeing his helplessness, they flapped down upon him with hoots of exultation. Their vast beaks tore at his helpless back, and stabbed at the swiftly writhing convolutions of his neck. One, more heedless than his fellows, ...
— In the Morning of Time • Charles G. D. Roberts

... which turns in falling, and exposes to the spectator the inside of the near thigh and the belly. But, notwithstanding these drawbacks, the representation has great merit. The figures live and breathe—that of the dying king expresses horror and helplessness, that of his pursuer determined purpose and manly strength. Even the very horses are alive, and manifestly rejoice in the strife. The entire work is full of movement, of ...
— The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 7. (of 7): The Sassanian or New Persian Empire • George Rawlinson

... where he begins to comprehend the purpose of life, and to evolve the will to put forth his energies in co-operation with nature, his rise to wisdom and power may be swift indeed. But this transformation from the darkness of ignorance to spiritual illumination, from helplessness "in the fell clutch of circumstance" to power over nature, must be brought about by his own efforts, for it is a process of evolution—of forcing the latent to become the active. Therefore one must resolve to take oneself in hand for definite and systematic self-development. ...
— Self-Development and the Way to Power • L. W. Rogers

... beasts. We must not harm them, when they are our neighbour's property. We must not break out into paroxysms of rage and impatience in dealing with them. It is a miserable way of showing off human pre-eminence, to torture poor brutes in malevolent glee at their pain and helplessness. Such wanton cruelty is especially deplorable, because it disposes the perpetrators to be cruel also to men. As St. Thomas says (1a 2a, q. 102, ...
— Moral Philosophy • Joseph Rickaby, S. J.

... member of his family die, not one of the caste members is permitted to help in the last sacred rites for the dead. Even at that moment, when one would expect the icy barriers to melt away, the heart of caste is as hard and its severity as rigid as ever. The helplessness of a family under these circumstances is, to any one who is not a slave to the whole accursed system, most ...
— India, Its Life and Thought • John P. Jones

... what she was,—a pretty little, selfish woman; undeveloped in her conscience and affections, and strong in her instincts and perceptions; in a blind way using what means were most in her line to carry her purposes. Lillie had always found her prettiness, her littleness, her helplessness, and her tears so very useful in carrying her points in life that she resorted to them as her lawful stock in trade. Neither were her blues entirely shamming. There comes a time after marriage, when a husband, ...
— Pink and White Tyranny - A Society Novel • Harriet Beecher Stowe

... here, disregard the gossip that you may have heard, and continue to assist me in my helplessness in making full and searching inquiry into ...
— The House of Whispers • William Le Queux

... eying Julia over their cups of tea, nodded half pityingly. They thought it a very poor job that did not permit one to come home to this kitchen at night, even less desirable than their own despised employments. Julia's being kept at night only added one more item to the long total that made the helplessness of the poor. It was as if Julia, dancing back to The Alexander in the early darkness, hugged to her heart the assurance that these kinswomen were as contentedly independent of her ...
— The Story Of Julia Page - Works of Kathleen Norris, Volume V. • Kathleen Norris

... the place of capital to bring to bear on the requirements of these Yankee callings? How he worried over the prospect which looked so pleasant the night before! Champagne, flowers, light, and perfume were gone from it. He pitied himself in his helplessness. The thought of Lily deprived of her delicate evening dresses, her diurnal bouquets, caramels, and her pecunious caprices, was not pleasant. He could not see her in any light that made her so agreeable as in the light that he must ...
— Stories by American Authors, Volume 8 • Various

... her helplessness however, she did not fear any thing worse than imprisonment. The idea had occurred to her of further injury, but had been at once dismissed. She did not think it possible that her life could be in ...
— The Living Link • James De Mille

... the reptile's immense body. It staggered and swayed from side to side in drunken agony. Its monstrous head rolled about, sweeping the air in a prodigious circle. The poison of its breath came to us in great puffs. There was something supremely horrible about the thing in its very helplessness, and I was shuddering violently as I stooped to help Harry lift Desiree from the ground and carry ...
— Under the Andes • Rex Stout

... on entering the high woods was helplessness, confusion, awe, all but terror. One is afraid at first to venture in fifty yards. Without a compass or the landmark of some opening to or from which he can look, a man must be lost in the first ten minutes, ...
— At Last • Charles Kingsley

... at times; but at other times I am ready to sink. My father's poverty and advancing age, my baby's helplessness, and my own delicate health, are frequently too much ...
— Catharine's Peril, or The Little Russian Girl Lost in a Forest - And Other Stories • M. E. Bewsher

... captive a buffet that tumbled him into a corner where he lay, his muddy back supported in the angle. And lying thus, it chanced that his eye met mine, a bright eye, very piercing and keen. Now beholding him thus in his helplessness and misery, I will confess that my very natural and proper repugnance for him and his past desperate crimes was greatly modified by pity for his present deplorable situation, the which it seemed he was quick to notice, for with ...
— Peregrine's Progress • Jeffery Farnol

... our masters." Such was naturally the train of thought that ran through those forlorn bosoms. The formidable death-dealing guns [197] of the invaders, the ships which had brought them to the African shores, and much besides in startling contrast to their own condition of utter helplessness, the Africans at once interpreted to themselves as the manifestation and inherent attributes of beings of a higher order than man. Their skin, too, the difference whereof from their own had been accentuated by many calamitous incidents, was hit ...
— West Indian Fables by James Anthony Froude Explained by J. J. Thomas • J. J. (John Jacob) Thomas

... very unfortunate. I ... was running rather fast, I suppose, and didn't see the slope until too late. Now," opening her hands in a gesture ingenuously charming with its suggestion of helplessness and dependence, "I don't know what can be the matter with ...
— The Brass Bowl • Louis Joseph Vance

... Thus in the prime of life, hardly understanding a word of the trial, stunned, helpless, alone, the latter began upon his term of five years in the penitentiary. His patient, gentle face impressed me as it did others, and his very helplessness thus became his ...
— Nye and Riley's Wit and Humor (Poems and Yarns) • Bill Nye

... outlived my old master and all his children, having seen the beginning and end of all of them, and her present owners finding she{141} was of but little value, her frame already racked with the pains of old age, and complete helplessness fast stealing over her once active limbs, they took her to the woods, built her a little hut, put up a little mud-chimney, and then made her welcome to the privilege of supporting herself there in perfect loneliness; ...
— My Bondage and My Freedom • Frederick Douglass

... things! The poor Indian is exiled and expelled from the lands of his ancestors to worthless hills, sandy desert, grazing lands, mostly poor and mountainous land, while our powerful government stands by and professes its helplessness to prevent the evil. These discouraging facts are enough to make the just and good men who once guided the republic rise from their graves. Is there a remnant of honor, justice, or integrity, left ...
— The Old Franciscan Missions Of California • George Wharton James

... man suddenly in charge of a house, and he will soon demonstrate his helplessness. The woman's deftness comes from ...
— Business Hints for Men and Women • Alfred Rochefort Calhoun

... insensible Watts. One of the men tried to persuade her to sit down again, but she would not be denied. Her unaccustomed fingers strove vainly against the stiff strands, swollen as they were with wet, and drawn taut by the strain to which they had been subjected. Tears gushed forth at her own helplessness. The pain in her eyes blinded her. She shrank away again. Not until Philip himself spoke did she dare to look at him, to find that he was bending over her, and endeavoring to allay her agitation by repeated ...
— The Stowaway Girl • Louis Tracy

... darkness fell—he would be waiting. A hundred times in the long afternoon, Nan looked into the cloudless western sky and with puny eager hands would have pushed the lagging orb on its course that she might sooner give herself into the arms where she felt her place so sure, her honor so safe, her helplessness so protected, herself ...
— Nan of Music Mountain • Frank H. Spearman

... the disadvantages under which the poor labour, and the evils of poverty, there is a great sense of helplessness: the wage earners are helpless to regulate their work and cannot obtain a fair equivalent for the labour they are willing to give; the manufacturer or dealer can only work within the limits of competition; ...
— Introduction to the Science of Sociology • Robert E. Park

... and kitchenmaids disport themselves on Sundays. A New Knowledge is abroad—and that New Knowledge is a fuller realisation that the new world is for all men and all women who work and do their duty, for all humanity, and not merely for the few who get rich upon the exploitation of poverty and helplessness of the masses. And this realisation carries with it the realisation that the governments of the future will be more really governments of the people for the people—and by people I do not mean merely those of Britain or France, or whichever nation ...
— Over the Fireside with Silent Friends • Richard King

... me go," he said excitedly; "I wasn't playing here and you didn't see me do anything wrong; you let me go, do you hear!" His utter helplessness, despite every contortion, to free himself from this degrading kind of grasp, drove him distracted and he kicked with all his might and main. "You let me go, do ...
— Pee-Wee Harris Adrift • Percy Keese Fitzhugh

... another appeal—the apparent helpless bewilderment of the man himself and his unreality. He was certainly not in possession of all his senses, from whatever world he might have dropped; and helplessness in man or beast was a blood bond with Patsy, making instant claim on her own abundant sympathies ...
— Seven Miles to Arden • Ruth Sawyer

... vaguely. There was no asperity in her voice now, only puzzled helplessness. It was the inevitable surrender of the commonplace in the light of a greater understanding—in the realization of an unknown law to the significance of which some never attain. She had come inadvertently to a marriage feast for which she had no wedding garment; ...
— A Williams Anthology - A Collection of the Verse and Prose of Williams College, 1798-1910 • Compiled by Edwin Partridge Lehman and Julian Park

... her," he said, "more than ever it did over any bird fallen from its nest, or any lamb that had slipped down the cliffs. All the softness and all the helplessness of every poor little creature I had ever seen in my life seemed about her; all the hunted creatures and all the trapped creatures came to my mind. I can hardly tell you about it, doctor. I could have risked my life a hundred times over for her. It was ...
— The Doctor's Dilemma • Hesba Stretton

... Jesus in terms which by definition shut out his true humanity. They asserted the identity of a real man, a true historic personage, with an abstract notion of God which had actually been framed by the denial of all human qualities. Their opponents with a like helplessness merely reversed the situation. To admit the deity of Jesus would have been for them, in all candour and clear-sightedness, absolutely impossible, because the admission would have shut out his true humanity. On the old definitions we cannot wonder that the struggle was a bitter one. Each party was ...
— Edward Caldwell Moore - Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant • Edward Moore

... ever standing in that front row, yet having started on the way. Back of them, one hundred little school boys who think it manly to ape the follies of their predecessors. Back of them, one hundred thousand little toddlers whose feet stagger in their innocent helplessness. Back of them, one hundred thousand mothers with babies in their arms. Oh, how sweetly those baby eyes look up into the loving eyes that are brooding over them. Is it possible those baby brows will ever lie low in the gutter, those sweet lips be ...
— Almost A Man • Mary Wood-Allen

... King fell into a despondent state, which amounted almost to physical helplessness. He passed ten successive days without uttering a single word, even in the bosom of his family; except, indeed, when playing at backgammon after dinner with Madame Elisabeth. The Queen roused him from ...
— Marguerite de Navarre - Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois Queen of Navarre • Marguerite de Navarre

... invalids, returning with becoming languor the glances of bright eyes in which shone the pity which we are told is "akin to love." Later these knights being permitted to join in the promenade, made the very most of their helplessness, enjoying hugely the necessary ministrations so simply and kindly given. Among these officers were two whose condition excited my most profound sympathy as well as required special care. Both were exiles; both badly wounded. One, ...
— Memories - A Record of Personal Experience and Adventure During Four Years of War • Fannie A. (Mrs.) Beers

... everything that is beautiful and elevating; yet they can't elevate me, because this load of inborn vileness drags me down and prevents my perfect enjoyment of anything. Doctors are the only ones who understand and know my helplessness before this monster. I think and work till my brain whirls, and I can scarce refrain from crying out my troubles." This letter was written a few days before ...
— Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2 (of 6) • Havelock Ellis

... confessing to himself that he had found something more potent even than the righteous deed. For here they all beheld how life was made sweet and blessed and holy by the power of love; and by love for a little child, in whom was all weakness and helplessness, whose only voice was a cry, but who was all strong and mighty with the power of God, because he could transform roughness into tenderness, and selfishness into loving care, and poverty itself into gifts of ...
— Christmas Stories And Legends • Various

... She was about to say, "keep house for you," but, recalling Susan Jane's helplessness, she said instead, "who is going to keep you ...
— Janet of the Dunes • Harriet T. Comstock

... and pure life without it. An ordinarily decorous life, if you will; free from lust or passion, and without gross unreason, but nevertheless tame, unprogressive, dry and unproductive, without any absolute certainty except that of the helplessness of man. Such a life seemed to him hardly more than a synonym for death. "The fact is," as he writes on a page now lying before us, "I want to live every moment. I want something positive, living, nourishing. I ...
— Life of Father Hecker • Walter Elliott

... fields; The scarlet heel in towns, foul smoke to sky, Her hated enemy, too long her scourge: Great Ares. And they gagged his trumpet mouth When they had seized on his implacable spear, Hugged him to reedy helplessness despite His godlike fury startled from amaze. For he had eyed them nearing him in play, The giant cubs, who gambolled and who snarled, Unheeding his fell presence, by the mount Ossa, beside a brushwood cavern; there On Earth's original fisticuffs they called For ease ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... brown face alight with all the hundred-and-one things she had yet to tell Daddy. On the threshold she paused, struck motionless by that amazing speech. She looked a little helplessly from one face to the other; and the two who loved her felt the same helplessness as they looked back. It was not an easy thing to pass sentence of exile ...
— Mates at Billabong • Mary Grant Bruce

... at once," I cried, rising and pacing the floor excitedly, for I had many times, in cursing my loneliness, dreamed of Henriette, and had oftener and oftener of late found myself wondering what had become of her, and then the helplessness of my position burst upon me with full force. How should I, the penniless wanderer in New York, get to Bolivar Lodge at Newport? It takes money in this sordid country to get about, even as it does in Britain—in sorry truth, things in detail differ little whether one lives under ...
— Mrs. Raffles - Being the Adventures of an Amateur Crackswoman • John Kendrick Bangs

... just as well as loving. He punishes those who continue to refuse his offers of mercy. With many he tries loving-kindness first. Sometimes his love makes him afflict people for the sake of bringing them to him, making them feel their own helplessness. The great thing of all, however, is to know for a certainty that he loves us, and that whatever he does is for the best. When a man is sure of this, he trusts to God, whatever happens. I have a loving mother, who taught me this. ...
— In the Eastern Seas • W.H.G. Kingston

... day of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." How inexpressibly encouraging it must have been on this occasion to hear the remark, "I know you will pray for me," accompanied with the look of earnestness and helplessness, realizing that God alone could restore her to her accustomed ...
— Gathering Jewels - The Secret of a Beautiful Life: In Memoriam of Mr. & Mrs. James Knowles. Selected from Their Diaries. • James Knowles and Matilda Darroch Knowles

... who proffered assistance. One timidly presented his shoulder and asked the lieutenant if he cared to lean upon it, but the latter waved him away mournfully. He wore the look of one who knows he is the victim of a terrible disease and understands his helplessness. He again stared over the breastwork at the forest, and then turning went slowly rearward. He held his right wrist tenderly in his left hand as if the wounded arm was ...
— Men, Women, and Boats • Stephen Crane

... castles throughout France. He secured from his French Pope approval of the extermination of the entire order and the torture and execution of its chiefs. Whether the charges against them were true or not, their helplessness in the grip of the King shows clearly the low ebb to which knighthood had fallen, and the rising power of the monarchs. The day of feudalism ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 07 • Various

... reduced to a state of mute helplessness and completely at Copple's mercy. Next he gave us one of his animal tales. He was hunting along the gulf shore on the coast of Sonora, where big turtles come out to bask in the sun and big jaguars come down to prowl for meat. ...
— Tales of lonely trails • Zane Grey

... interrupted in an unexpected and ridiculous manner—the telephone rang. As the bell whirred he stopped irresolute, his fingers tight on her arm. Then, as it rang again, he looked at her with a sort of enraged helplessness, and made a movement to draw her to the phone. An outsider would have laughed, but the two protagonists were beyond comedy, and glared at one another in dumb defiance. Finally, the bell filling the ...
— Treasure and Trouble Therewith - A Tale of California • Geraldine Bonner

... now, upon my thigh I halt till life's short journey end; All helplessness, all weakness, I On thee alone for strength depend; Nor have I power from thee to move: Thy nature and ...
— England's Antiphon • George MacDonald

... naturally fell back, therefore, upon his Jewish inheritance and widened that system of sacrifices and atonements until he found therein not only a place for the Cross but the necessity for it. He made much, therefore, of the sense of alienation from God, of sin and human helplessness, of the need ...
— Modern Religious Cults and Movements • Gaius Glenn Atkins

... seems to be a natural, although unhealthy result. Unfortunately there is evidence that these factors influence modern Germany. One of the roots of tragedy is to be found in the inequality between the will and power to perform. In its helplessness the will recoils upon itself, turning to gall and bitterness, or seeks a solution ...
— What Germany Thinks - The War as Germans see it • Thomas F. A. Smith

... to helplessness—the monster ate it! The lipless jaws gaped widely. The shapeless hands forced in the head of the animal. The throat muscles expanded hugely: and in less than a minute it had swallowed its living prey as a boa-constrictor swallows ...
— Astounding Stories, April, 1931 • Various

... passed her childhood and girlhood in remote parts of England, without companions, and nobody to talk to except her mother and Thalassa, who accompanied the family everywhere. She loved her mother, but her love was embittered by her helplessness to mitigate her mother's unhappy lot. Thalassa was a savage old pagan whose habitual watchful secretiveness relaxed into roaring melody in his occasional cups; in neither aspect could he be considered a suitable ...
— The Moon Rock • Arthur J. Rees

... made and commissioned one set of nurses; and in doing this and adapting them to utter helplessness and weakness, what did he do? He made them to love the dependence and to see something to admire in the very perversities of their charge. He made them to humor the caprices and regard both reasonable and unreasonable complainings. He ...
— The American Woman's Home • Catherine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe

... felt as if they were lead. I seemed to be standing still. One frightened glance over my shoulder showed the machine, like some monstrous vulture, bearing down on me. I could feel it gaining and gaining. The heavy drone of the engines seemed to fill the air with its noise. A pitiful sense of helplessness gripped me. I knew I was going to die like a rat in the jaws of a fox terrier. I screamed aloud in my terror and pitched headlong on the turf. With a roar, and a rush of wind that almost lifted me from the ground, ...
— 32 Caliber • Donald McGibeny

... coats were worn by mature men, some gray, all grave and resolute: husbands and fathers, with the memory of wives and children tugging at their heart-strings; homes left desolate behind them, and before them the grim certainty of danger, hardship, and perhaps the lifelong helplessness worse than death. Little of the glamour of romance about the war now: they saw it as it was, a long, hard task; and here were the men to do it well. Even the lookers-on were different now. Once all was wild enthusiasm and glad ...
— Kitty's Class Day And Other Stories • Louisa M. Alcott

... already ascertained the contents of the lodge in which were collected the woman and her young children, and had passed several gigantic frames, stretched on different piles of brush, which happily for him lay in unconscious helplessness, when he reached the spot occupied by Ishmael in person. It could not escape the sagacity of one like Mahtoree, that he had now within his power the principal man among the travellers. He stood long hovering ...
— The Prairie • J. Fenimore Cooper

... lowest classes, one daughter is often decreed by the parents to be brought up like a lady, and for this every sacrifice is to be made. Her robust sisters go bare-footed to the wells for water, they go miles unprotected into the lonely mountains; no social ambition, no genteel helplessness for them. But Mariquinha is taught to read, write, and sew; she is as carefully looked after as if the world wished to steal her; she wears shoes and stockings and an embroidered kerchief and a hooded cloak; and she never steps outside the door alone. You meet her, pale and ...
— Atlantic Monthly Volume 6, No. 37, November, 1860 • Various

... strange chain of circumstances which had placed him in his present position, and boldly facing the fact of how little chance he had of escaping Mr. Flint's malice. The excitement attending his arrest had passed away, and the reality of his utter helplessness came full upon him. For himself he dreaded little, for no punishment for a supposed crime, however disgraceful, could make him guilty; but a prolonged imprisonment would leave Daisy and Mrs. Snarle without means of support. This caused ...
— Daisy's Necklace - And What Came of It • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... right knee thrust between the shoulder blades of the prostrate man, the Hindu looked up—and I read murder in those glaring eyes. That he was an accomplished wrestler—or perhaps a strangler—I divined from the helplessness of the Grand Duke, who lay inert, robbed of every power except that of his tongue. He was ...
— The Golden Scorpion • Sax Rohmer

... with which to begin my analysis of this riot. And I felt myself merely a conventional if astonished onlooker before the theoretically abnormal but manifestly natural emotional activity which swept over California. After what must have been a most usual intellectual cycle of, first, helplessness, then conventional cataloguing, some rationalizing, some moralizing, and an extensive feeling of shallowness and inferiority, ...
— An American Idyll - The Life of Carleton H. Parker • Cornelia Stratton Parker

... a little thought on the part of those who dwell in civilised lands to understand fully all that this implied to the Eskimo. If it did not absolutely mean death by exposure and starvation, it at all events meant life under extremely uncomfortable conditions of helplessness and pain; it meant being completely at the mercy of two women whom he had grievously wronged; and it meant that, at the best, he could not avoid ultimately falling into the hands of his angry and outraged kinsmen. All this the wizard perceived at ...
— Red Rooney - The Last of the Crew • R.M. Ballantyne

... they accomplish the next move? That is one of the secrets. Their money was gone, the silence of the press had crushed them with an overwhelming sense of helplessness, but nevertheless they turned the trick. They reached the upper and middle class readers of the South Side District, Troy's district, which the papers were determined to keep as much in ignorance as possible. All one night, silent, swift-moving ...
— How To Write Special Feature Articles • Willard Grosvenor Bleyer

... he reared up his head a little and tried to run away. Buck caught the dangling reins near the bit. Satan attempted to strike out with his forehoof. It was a movement as clumsy and slow as the blow of a child, and Buck easily avoided it. Realizing his helplessness Satan whinnied a heart-breaking appeal for help to his unfailing friend, Black Bart. The wail of the wolf answered dolefully from ...
— The Untamed • Max Brand

... "wilding"—she was indeed a "wilding" or weed,—growing up unwanted in the garden of the world, destined to be pulled out of the soil where she had nourished and thrown contemptuously aside. A wretched sense of utter helplessness stole over her,—of incapacity, weakness and loneliness. She tried to think,—to see her way through the strange fog of untoward circumstance that had so suddenly enshrouded her. What would happen when Farmer Jocelyn ...
— Innocent - Her Fancy and His Fact • Marie Corelli

... angry oaths now leaped from the robbers' lips, as they realised the helplessness of their position. They did not dare to move, as they were too close to the frowning muzzle of ...
— Rod of the Lone Patrol • H. A. Cody

... twin daughters awakened the young father to a still stronger sense of the total dependence and extreme helplessness of his condition. Yet how to remedy it he knew not. To accept of his father's proposal was out of the question, and it was equally impossible for him, were he ever so inclined, to remain much longer a burden on the narrow income of the Laird of Glenfern. One alternative only ...
— Marriage • Susan Edmonstone Ferrier

... out of life's whole armory of weapons the means of disarming Hope, she could have found nothing so effectual as nature had supplied in her unconsciousness. Helplessness conquers. There was a quality in Emilia which would have always produced something very like antagonism in Hope, had she not been her sister. Had the ungoverned girl now been able to utter one word of reproach, ...
— Malbone - An Oldport Romance • Thomas Wentworth Higginson

... in her face I have never seen equalled. Her eyes were of speedwell blue, and looked as if they were meant to be always more or less brimming with tears. To say the truth, her face had not half the character which gave force to that of the other little damsel, but a certain helplessness about it gave it a peculiar charm. She was dressed exactly like the other, with one exception; her bonnet was of white beaver, and she became it like ...
— A Flat Iron for a Farthing - or Some Passages in the Life of an only Son • Juliana Horatia Ewing

... marble she looked, lying there in her absolute helplessness beneath his stranger gaze! How pure the white brow, with its clustering rings of glossy hair! How exquisitely fine the white hand to which the dimples of babyhood yet clung! How classic the contour ...
— Idle Hour Stories • Eugenia Dunlap Potts

... on them hangs Still ratt'ling in their ears, Creates within them heavy pangs, And still augments their fears. 30. Thus hopeless of all remedy, They dyingly do sink Into the jaws of misery, And seas of sorrow drink. 31. For being cop'd[12] on every side With helplessness and grief, Headlong into despair they slide Bereft of all relief. 32. Therefore this hell is called a pit, Prepared for those that die The second death, a term most fit To show their misery. 33. ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

... force of capital had withdrawn from the league; the weaker one, labor, was turned into an utter helplessness of idleness. There was nothing to be done; you cannot rebel against a ...
— A Country Doctor and Selected Stories and Sketches • Sarah Orne Jewett

... mirror he found a lilac colored ribbon, soiled and crumpled. It was Marion's ribbon—the one he had seen last in her hair, and he crushed it to his lips as he ran back into the great room, calling out her name again and again in the torture of helplessness that now ...
— The Courage of Captain Plum • James Oliver Curwood

... the energy to remove them; the dull apathy which had succeeded the days of hysterical passion and convulsion still lingered; even the slow improvement that could be detected was marked by the languor of convalescence. The helplessness of a race, hitherto dependent upon certain barbaric conditions or political place and power, unskilled in invention, and suddenly confronted with the necessity of personal labor, was visible everywhere. Eyes that but three short years before had turned ...
— Sally Dows and Other Stories • Bret Harte

... Even in her utter helplessness there was something like an armor about her—even as the innocent bud is encompassed and protected by the sharpest thorns from the hand that ...
— Jolly Sally Pendleton - The Wife Who Was Not a Wife • Laura Jean Libbey

... ballot men emphasized their opinions and enforced their demands; she realized that without it women exercised small influence upon law-makers and had no power to reward friends or punish enemies. A sense of the terrible helplessness of being utterly without representation came upon her with crushing force. The first great cause of the injustice which pressed upon women from every point was clearly revealed to her and she understood, as never before, that any class ...
— The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony (Volume 1 of 2) • Ida Husted Harper

... disillusionment, our impatience of foreigners, our suspicion of the idealisms of the Wilson brand. He would trace our discontent ruthlessly to its sources and hold up to our eyes the strange compound of sorrow and fatigue, impatience and disappointment, aspiration and helplessness which makes us what we are. 'The war-mood brought with it many and terrible symptoms such as have occurred and will always continue to occur, so long as human nature remains what it is; though in a severer or milder ...
— The Legacy of Greece • Various

... of Caspar Hauser, the novelty and singularity of all his thoughts and actions, and his charming innocence and amiability, interested at the time all Europe in his behalf. Thrown upon the world in a state of utter helplessness, he was adopted by one of the cities of Germany, and became not only a universal pet, but a sight which people flocked from all parts to see. It became a perfect fever, raging throughout Germany, and extending also to other countries. The papers teemed with accounts and conjectures. Innumerable ...
— Atlantic Monthly Volume 7, No. 39, January, 1861 • Various

... sirens carry are carried very tenderly, and seem to yearn in their turn towards those kindly nurses as they pass on their way to a new world. Their small stature, as I said, does not prove them infants, but only new-born into that other life, and contrasts their helplessness with the powers, the great presences, now around them. A cow, far enough from Myron's famous illusive animal, suckles her calf. She is [275] one of almost any number of artistic symbols of new-birth, ...
— Greek Studies: A Series of Essays • Walter Horatio Pater

... be in you." Our Lord had announced to the disciples that He was about to leave them. An awful sense of desolation took possession of them. Sorrow filled their hearts (John xvi. 6) at the contemplation of their loneliness and absolute helplessness when Jesus should thus leave them alone. To comfort them the Lord tells them that they shall not be left alone, that in leaving them He was going to the Father and that He would pray the Father and He would ...
— The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit • R. A. Torrey

... between you and me; and that you may come and thank me for it, instead of perceiving, as a gentleman would—yes! a gentleman,' she repeated, in allusion to their former conversation about that word, 'that any woman, worthy of the name of woman, would come forward to shield, with her reverenced helplessness, a man in danger ...
— North and South • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... hesitated; then she looked once more at the child almost as if she wished to gain something from his helplessness. At last she said: ...
— In the Wilderness • Robert Hichens

... the sufferings of children. Lamb himself had known loneliness and suffering and lack of appreciation when a boy in the great Blue Coat School. Far more vividly than Dickens he brings before us his neglected childhood and all that it represented in lonely helplessness. Then he deals with later things, with his love of old books, his passion for the play, his delight in London and its various aspects, his joy in all strange characters like the old benchers of the ...
— Modern English Books of Power • George Hamlin Fitch

... warn you that I will run the prison. I am MacNair!" Something in the man's look—he was gazing straight into her eyes with a peculiar intense gaze—caused the girl to start, while a sudden indescribable feeling of fear, of helplessness before this man, flashed over her. The feeling passed in an instant and she sneered ...
— The Gun-Brand • James B. Hendryx

... law-givers and logicians under whose protection the free city had placed its budding liberties. There they sat, rigid and sumptuous on their Gothic thrones: Origen, Zeno, David, Lycurgus, Aristotle; listening in a kind of cataleptic helplessness to a confession of faith that scattered their doctrines to the winds. As he looked and listened, a weary sense of the reiterance of things came over him. For what were these ancient manipulators of ideas, prestidigitators of a vanished world of thought, but ...
— The Valley of Decision • Edith Wharton

... relate, the apple-tree had also completely vanished from the enchanted meadow. At that I began to suspect that in coming out of the forest I had somehow got into another and somewhat similar old field. I have never had a more confused or eerie sensation; not fear, but a sort of helplessness in which for an instant I actually began to doubt whether it was I myself, David Grayson, who stood there in the dark meadow, or whether I was the victim of a peculiarly bad dream. I suppose many other people ...
— The Friendly Road - New Adventures in Contentment • (AKA David Grayson) Ray Stannard Baker

... the gold, and then approached the child. For the first time in his life he experienced an emotion of reverence. There was something about her beauty, her helplessness and his responsibility that made a new appeal ...
— The Redemption of David Corson • Charles Frederic Goss

... purpose, as, there, the Kal is used. But the female sex, being weaker, stands in greater need of the compassion of men, than does the male. Is. ix. 16. The female child places the neediness and helplessness of the people in more striking contrast with the refusal of help from Him who alone can bestow it. The [Hebrew: rHmh] is either Participle in Pual which has cast off the [Hebrew: m], or the 3d fem. Pret. in pause; thus Cocceius, who ...
— Christology of the Old Testament: And a Commentary on the Messianic Predictions, v. 1 • Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg

... I say our decline began clearly with the outbreak of the revolution in Russia. On the one side the government was dominated by the fear that the infection would spread, and on the other by the feeling of their helplessness to instil fresh strength into the masses of the people and to strengthen their warlike ardor, waning as it was through ...
— Now It Can Be Told • Philip Gibbs

... re-refining, we shall drive the National Government out of the United States and relegate it to the District of Columbia, or perhaps to some foreign soil. We shall bring it back to a condition of greater helplessness than that of ...
— Messages and Papers of Rutherford B. Hayes - A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents • James D. Richardson

... looked on, J.W. could understand something which had been a closed book to him before. No one could stand by and see this abjectness of need, this helplessness, this pathetic faith which was almost fatalistic in the foreign doctor's miraculous powers—it recalled that beseeching cry in the New Testament story, "Lord, if thou wilt thou canst"—without being deeply, poignantly glad that there were such men as Joe Carbrook. It was all ...
— John Wesley, Jr. - The Story of an Experiment • Dan B. Brummitt

... he grew desperately impatient, the distance to the island decreased so gradually. A breeze from the coveted shore fanned his cheek; he fancied it held them back, and fulminated against it,—the beneficent current,—the providential timbers! A feeling of blind helplessness followed; the sun, beating down fiercely, made him light-headed. Hardly knowing what he did, he drew forth the last little bit of the biscuit, ground it between his teeth and greedily swallowed it. The act seemed to sober him; ...
— Half A Chance • Frederic S. Isham

... not go back to University Place, either on this or any subsequent occasion when she thought it well to withdraw there, emphasized his helplessness to aid her. By the time autumn returned, and the household was once more settled in town, he had grown aware that between Diane and himself there was an impalpable wall of separation, which he could no more pass than ...
— The Inner Shrine • Basil King

... colonel looked at his unfinished picture, then at the mellow light of the autumn day, so much like the soul of corn itself, and then at Alice. He lifted his eyebrows and waved his hands in a gesture of helplessness. ...
— The Bondboy • George W. (George Washington) Ogden

... then made a gesture of utter helplessness. She knew no adequate description of the geographical position of her home. It was just the Monk Road, running from an indefinite somewhere to an equally mysterious ending, and anyone who did not know that was lacking in their education. ...
— Nancy McVeigh of the Monk Road • R. Henry Mainer

... helplessness he even seriously considered and covertly proposed our following the example of certain aristocratic English families where, as he declared he knew positively, a pretty servant girl was engaged to keep the son of the house from worse excesses, until the time for a respectable marriage had ...
— The Bride of Dreams • Frederik van Eeden

... ahead of them, and facing towards them. The horse, with the reins hanging loosely over the shafts, had strayed to the side of the driveway and was contentedly eating the shrubbery that lined it. Inside the vehicle, hunched up in the corner of the seat, was a man who presented an appearance of helplessness which struck them both with ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... child," said the woman who took care of him in his last illness; "if he has done amiss, it was from ignorance rather than wickedness." A charming and a curious being, serious and simple, profound and childlike, winning by reason of his very vagaries, his good-natured originality, his helplessness in common life, La Fontaine knew how to estimate the literary merits as well as the moral qualities of his illustrious friends. "When they happened to be together," says he, in his tale of Psyche, "and had ...
— A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times - Volume V. of VI. • Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

... the mercy of the next marauder that chanced to pass that way. Without the guidance of its mother it was a forlorn and pathetic little object left to drift aimlessly through the rain-soaked forest with its numerous watchful eyes and alert ears. Somehow, the other creatures sensed the fawn's helplessness and the news soon spread among them. Shadowy forms appeared where there should have been none. And the awe-inspiring Suma had scarcely succeeded in shaking the dainty little sprite off her trail when it met an untimely ...
— The Black Phantom • Leo Edward Miller

... mystified at the transformation from helplessness to aggression of bearing the man followed her and as she wheeled to face him with her left hand groping against the bark, he dropped down into the grass with insolent mockery in his face and sat cross-legged, looking up ...
— The Roof Tree • Charles Neville Buck

... realize these facts we shall not stand so much in awe of our physical bodies. In the past we have been thinking of the body as a solid and imponderable mass difficult to control and to change. This conception left us in a condition of utter helplessness and hopelessness in the ...
— Nature Cure • Henry Lindlahr

... that was charged with malignant venom, the Sepoy looked upon the gleaming barrel of a pistol which was advancing into the light, recognized his helplessness, and with snarling obedience elevated his ...
— The Flaw in the Sapphire • Charles M. Snyder

... crashed and settled it! "Who hath believed our report?" the prophets have always cried, until the arm of the Lord was revealed; and the melancholy of all prophetic writers is mainly due to the conscious helplessness of their words. If men would only listen to reason—if they would listen even to the appeals of justice and compassion, we suppose our prophets would grow quite cheerful at last. But to justice and compassion men listen only at a distance, and the ...
— Essays in Rebellion • Henry W. Nevinson

... winter and summer, when the weather is either extraordinarily cold or hot, I confess to experiencing a peculiar sense of helplessness and vague uneasiness. I have a feeling that a trifling additional rise or fall of temperature, such as might be caused by any slight hitch in the machinery of the universe, would quite crowd mankind out of existence. To be sure, the hitch ...
— The Cold Snap - 1898 • Edward Bellamy

... plains and visited the Indian camp (then infected with small-pox) for the purpose of making peace and trading. A few days later the disease appeared among them and swept off half their number in a very short space of time. To such a degree of helplessness were they reduced that when the prairie fires broke out in the neighbourhood of their camp they were unable to do any thing towards arresting its progress or saving their property. The fire swept through the camp, destroying a number of horses, ...
— The Great Lone Land - A Narrative of Travel and Adventure in the North-West of America • W. F. Butler

... never-ending processions of groaning men being brought in on those horrible blood-soaked stretchers, suffering unimagined tortures, the filth, the cold, the stench, the hunger, the vermin, and the squalor of it all, added to one's utter helplessness to do more than very little to relieve their misery, was almost enough ...
— Field Hospital and Flying Column - Being the Journal of an English Nursing Sister in Belgium & Russia • Violetta Thurstan

... gave to his brothers' love-songs the grace of passion, and which made them renowned for their picturesque eloquence of speech, fired him to greater fluency than was usual with him, when he thought of the helplessness of the tiny being ...
— In Connection with the De Willoughby Claim • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... He was thinking of Maria Consuelo and wishing that he could get away from Rome that night, while admitting that there was no possibility of such a thing. Meanwhile the head clerk's gestures to his interlocutors expressed more and more helplessness. At last they went ...
— Don Orsino • F. Marion Crawford

... leg-bound feeling I never before experienced, and hope I never shall again. The exertion required to get up a slight piece of rising ground, even without any load, induces an indescribable sensation of pain and helplessness, and the general lassitude makes one unfit for anything. Poor Gray must have suffered very much many times when we thought him shamming. It is most fortunate for us that these symptoms, which so early affected him, did not come on us until ...
— Successful Exploration Through the Interior of Australia • William John Wills

... They all went to the window to see; Courthope, following in the most absurd helplessness, trailing the end of his binding-cord behind him, brought up the rear of the little procession. Madge walked straight on into his room, where Madam Morin was again ...
— A Dozen Ways Of Love • Lily Dougall

... know!' The effect of that upon Arthur Clennam was to make him repeat his inquiry in exactly the same words and tone as before. The effect of that upon young Barnacle was to make him a wonderful spectacle of failure and helplessness. ...
— Little Dorrit • Charles Dickens

... income he derived from his living a very handsome private fortune, which he devoted entirely to the benefit of the poor around him. Among the objects of his bounty one old woman—a childless widow, was remarkably distinguished. Whether commiserating her utter helplessness or her complete isolation, he went farther to relieve her than to many, if not all, the other poor. She frequently was in the habit of pleading her poverty as a reason for not appearing in church among her neighbours; and he gladly seized an opportunity of so improving her condition, that ...
— The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer, Complete • Charles James Lever (1806-1872)

... him that I was not at all inclined to put my trust in Nicolas, and that my secret was one not to be imparted in writing. However, I was amused by his letters. In one of them he told me why Count Asquin was kept under the Leads, in spite of his helplessness, for he was enormously fat, and as he had a broken leg which had been badly set he could hardly put one foot before another. It seems that the count, not being a very wealthy man, followed the profession of a barrister at Udine, and in that capacity ...
— The Memoires of Casanova, Complete • Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

... near me," he said, hoarsely, and hurried on, unsteadily, while she stood there, dumbfounded, unable to understand. I saw her sense of helplessness grow into resentment and wounded pride. The poor little girl was ...
— Sweetapple Cove • George van Schaick

... agony, which seems peculiar to death, is wholly in the hands of men. Now what we most dread is the awful struggle at the end and especially the hateful moment of rupture which we shall perhaps see approaching during long hours of helplessness and which suddenly hurls us, disarmed, abandoned and stripped, into an unknown that is the home of the only invincible terrors which the ...
— Death • Maurice Maeterlinck

... abstract thinking, observing and drawing general conclusions, solely and distinctively human. Now the very first observations of man in the most primitive stage of his existence must necessarily have awakened in him a twofold consciousness—that of power and that of helplessness. He could do many things. Small in size, weak in strength, destitute of natural clothing and weapons, acutely sensitive to pain and atmospheric changes as all higher natures are, he could kill and tame the huge and powerful animals ...
— Chaldea - From the Earliest Times to the Rise of Assyria • Znade A. Ragozin

... by slender white posts or columns. It is the old William Douglas homestead, now owned by John D. Mobley. He rents it to Philip Moore, a well behaved Negro citizen, who, out of respect for his mother-in-law, Eliza, supports her in the sore trials and helplessness of blindness and old age. The home is five miles southeast of ...
— Slave Narratives Vol. XIV. South Carolina, Part 2 • Works Projects Administration

... jealousy, a vague sense of helplessness, seized upon Martie. He had been so cordially gay and delightful with her; would he be that with all the girls? Would Florence Frost, three years older than he, fall a victim to his charm as quickly as she, Martie, had fallen? Martie had mentioned Florence Frost this afternoon, and by subtle, instinctive, ...
— Martie the Unconquered • Kathleen Norris



Words linked to "Helplessness" :   dependance, helpless, dependency, dependence, impotency, powerlessness, depression, impotence



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