Faced with both her hot-tempered father's fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.

[last lines]
Hushpuppy: When it all goes quiet behind my eyes, I see everything that made me lying around in invisible pieces. When I look too hard, it goes away. And when it all goes quiet, I see they are right here. I see that I'm a little piece in a big, big universe. And that makes things right. When I die, the scientists of the future, they're gonna find it all. They gonna know, once there was a Hushpuppy, and she live with her daddy in the Bathtub.
Hushpuppy: I hope you die and after you die I'll go to your grave and eat birthday cake all by myself.
Hushpuppy: I see that I am a little piece of a big, big universe, and that makes it right.
Hushpuppy: Sometimes you can break something so bad, that it can't get put back together.
Hushpuppy: Everybody loses the thing that made them. It's even how it's supposed to be in nature. The brave men stay and watch it happen, they don't run.
Hushpuppy: Strong animals know when your hearts are weak, and that makes 'em hungry. And they start comin'.
Hushpuppy: The whole universe depends on everything fitting together just right. If one piece busts, even the smallest piece... the entire universe will get busted.
Hushpuppy: When it all goes quiet behind my eyes, I see everything that made me flying around in invisible pieces.
Hushpuppy: [about hospital beds] When an animal gets sick here, they plug it into the wall.
[first lines]
Hushpuppy: All the time, everywhere, everything's hearts are beating and squirting, and talking to each other the ways I can't understand. Most of the time they probably be saying: I'm hungry, or I gotta poop.
[listening to bird's heartbeat]
Hushpuppy: But sometimes they be talkin' in codes.
Hushpuppy: For the animals that didn't have a dad to put them in a boat, the end of the world already happened.
Wink: [Concerning the boat's dividing line after Hushpuppy burned her house down] If I want to go over there and smack you in the face, well, that's against the rules. So that's a plus for you.
Hushpuppy: [hiding from trouble] When daddy kill me I won't be forgotten. I'm recording my story for the scientists in the future. In a million years, when kids go to school, they gonna know: Once there was a Hushpuppy, and she lived with her daddy in The Bathtub.
Hushpuppy: They think we're all gonna drown down here. But we ain't going nowhere.
Hushpuppy: The Bathtub has more holidays than the whole rest of the world.
Wink: My only purpose in life is to teach her how to make it.
The Cook: Lemme tell you somethin', when you're a child people tell you that everything's gonna be all hunky-dory and all that bullshit, but I'm here to tell you that it's not. So get that out your head right now. Life's some big old feast, yeah, but you? You ain't nothin' but a stupid little waitress. Everything you got on your platter gonna fall on the floor and ain't nobody gonna be there to pick it up for you. Someday it's all gonna be on you.
All (except Hushpuppy): As I stand by the bayou, I watch a ship as she disappears. There, she is gone. And we cry for this. But she's not gone. She's just as real as when she left me. And somewhere else, other voices are calling out: "Here she comes." And that is dying. Here she comes!
Hushpuppy: I wanna be cohesive.
Hushpuppy: It didn't look like a prison, it looked more like a fish tank with no water. They say that we were here for our own good.
Hushpuppy: I can count all the times I've been lifted. I can count all the times I've been lifted on two fingers.
Wink: I'm your daddy, and it's my job to take care of you, OK?
Hushpuppy: Which way are we going?
Sgt. Major: It don't matter, baby. This boat will take you exactly where you need to be. It's that kind of boat.
Hushpuppy: Back when Daddy used to talk about Mama, he says she was so pretty, she never even had to turn on the stove. She just walked into the room and all the water starts to boil.