There was a box lying on the road beside him. He tore it open frantically and started to pull things out of it.
They were candles. Knocking them over in his haste, picking them up in shaking fingers only to knock them over again, he finally had them upright on the flints of the road. He pulled matches out of another pocket, knelt down and once again got his shaking fingers tangled in themselves as he struggled to strike a match. Tears streamed down his face as the light of the candles rose.
Blues, yellows, greens. They would go out for a few smoky seconds and then light again a different color, to the oohs and aahs of the crowd.
Nutt turned […] and spat, “I am not worthless. I have worth.”
–”Unseen Academicals,” by Terry Pratchett
I’ve read half of the Discworld Novels, but to my surprise, Unseen Academicals has recently become one of my ultimate favorites (probably behind Reaper Man and The Wee Free Men). This particular scene, though, left the strongest mental image.
For those who have not read it, one of the lead characters of this novel is a ‘goblin’ named Nutt, who struggles with his feelings of self-worth. This scene is his turning point, where he declares for the first time that he considers himself worthy and will not live up to the stereotypes and racism associated with him.