Follow TV Tropes


Quotes / Empty Shell

Go To

He is Null Achtzehn. He is not called anything except that. Zero Eighteen, the last three figures of his entry number; as if everyone was aware that only a man is worthy of a name, and that Null Achtzehn is no longer a man. I think that even he has forgotten his name, certainly he acts as if this was so. When he speaks, when he looks around, he gives the impression of being empty inside, nothing more than an involucre, like the slough of certain insects.
Primo Levi, If This Is a Man

"Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves."

And what of the immortal soul in such transactions? Can this machine transmit and reattach it as well? Or is it lost forever, leaving a soulless body to wander the world in despair?
Sister Miriam Godwinson, "We must Dissent"

Kiriyama...saw past him...nothing there...emptiness.
Shinji, Battle Royale

Barely a machine...he doesn't care what happens to himself...he doesn't care what happens to himself...empty's not just us...he doesn't care about himself.
Hiroki, Battle Royale

"You can exist without your soul, you know, as long as your brain and heart are still working. But you'll have no sense of self anymore, no memory, no...anything. There's no chance at all of recovery. You'll just—exist. As an empty shell. And your soul is gone forever...lost."
Remus Lupin describes the Dementor's Kiss, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Later, much later, when Piers and Ilane are able to look at their third son again, they will reflect that it was almost like losing two children. Conal goes off to the Palace with the shadow of what he has done still hanging over him, and when they return from the Yamani Isles he is a stranger, a tall, whip-thin, silent boy with a badly-healed broken nose and huge shadows under his pale grey eyes.

The door opened to reveal Applejack. Despite the fact that she’d been in the middle of breaking and entering, there was no anger or hostility or alarm or anything whatsoever on the Earth pony’s face. The emptiness which sat in Applejack’s eyes was the same as that in Rarity’s own. Both of them walked forward. Their shoulders bumped against each other, their sides slid alongside one another like two pieces of wheeled luggage at a train station. No words were spoken.
— The first few moments of the Swap in Divided Rainbow

It is said that memories are what make us who we are. Personal, private, intimate— small fragments of the life that we have lived. Memories are precious gems to remind us of times when we were happy, or they are weights that burden and callous [sic] our souls. Without our memories we are nothing but a living shell that is empty, with no past or origin, existing simply to exist.
That is what I am.
I have no recollections of my past that are my own, knowing only what is recounted to me. Within my mind's eye are no faces of any beings that I recognise as mother or father. There are no friends or siblings whose names I recall fondly, nor are there any happy memories, or moments that have shaped and moulded the entity that I am.
Circlebound by Sleyf and BlueNephelim

You won't talk. Or - you can't talk? Hold on, hold on, wait a minute, just let me - OH! No. YES! Nooo! Think it through - you spoke before. I heard your voice. An intelligent voice; no, more than that, brilliant! But, looking at you now, all I can The animal. Just the body. You're just the body, the physical form. What's happened to your mind, hmm? Where's it gone? Where's that intelligence?...Oh, no...
The Doctor, Doctor Who, "The Satan Pit"

But I am just a broken machine
And I do things that I don't really mean
Long black night, morning frost
I'm still here, but all is lost.
— "Cry For Judas", by The Mountain Goats

On a personal note, these Drones are more unnerving than any other I've encountered. At least the others have some vestiges of personality left; these... things are just cold, hollow shells of people, conversing only when absolutely necessary and generally ignoring outside stimuli to the point where most psychiatrists would have them committed at once. They may be the most innocuous kind of Drone overall, but my claws itch to destroy them whenever I cross paths with one. The human being that ends up like this isn't even remotely human any more. Not even remotely.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Possessed: A Player's Guide

Always before when I have seen him, he has been speaking with his whole body, using his physicality for all it's worth. Now he sits, slack, in this chair in this featureless box. His eyes are open, and he is looking straight ahead. It seems at first that he is dead. If so, he has gone into rigor in place; they will never be able to get him out of the chair without bolt cutters (the dirty secret of undertakers). On the other hand, with the muscle he has, I'd expect him to be more contorted. He should be all wrapped around himself, like a spider in the rain. He is not. If anything, he's like a sleeper. If I lean my head, I can see his chest move slowly, in and out.
Humbert Pestle is not dead. He has been put away. This is how he is when he is not the Boss. When he has no purpose. Humbert Pestle is a type A pencilneck, and this is what he is when there is no work to be done.

These beautiful women are every bit the model stereotype, vapid and distant. They also seem so high on drugs that they appear utterly incapable of even feeding themselves. That is, of course, because they are incapable of feeding themselves; the models of the Avalon House are simply pretty shells, a wardrobe of skins that the magicians behind the fashion house use to maintain their network of information, wealth and debauchery.

Urist McDwarf has stopped responding to the world...
Dwarf Fortress, when a dwarf goes Catatonic

A pomegranate bounced off the cart and exploded against the face of the female adventurer from Slippery John's party, who was walking along on the left. She didn't so much as flinch, but continued walking at a perfectly maintained pace, swaying her hips in exactly the same motion with with each step, juicy seeds dripping off her fine upturned nose. Experimentally, I leaned out of the cage and waved a hand in front of her eyes. Not a blink.
"Slippery John wouldn't bother if Slippery John were you," said Slippery John from the other side of the cage. "She's got the Syndrome."
"She looks healthy to me," I said, watching her tea-colored thighs rotating like synchronized metronomes.
"That's the thing. Syndrome only affects the good-looking ones. Drylda over there used to be an adventurer like anyone else. Quested part-time to pay her way through college, y'know. Then the Syndrome hit her. Out of nowhere, that's how it always goes. They stand around like they've got a broom up their arse, start talking weird, lose interest in everything except quests and having the best armor. Sometimes they stopped moving altogether for days at a time. Don't even wake up, no matter how many times you fondle and sniff their pert bodies." A pause. "Or so Slippery John hears."

"He can reshape any mind he chooses. He used it to erase our memories, put his own thoughts there. He was surprised it took so much power. We fought him, remember? But we grew so tired, our minds so blank, so open, that any thought he placed there became our thoughts. Our minds so empty like a sponge, needing thoughts, begging. Empty. Loneliness. So lonely to be sitting there empty, wanting any word from him..."
Dr Van Gelder, Star Trek: The Original Series, "Dagger of the Mind"


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: