The first two quotes are from Hawthorne's retelling of the story of Pandora's box. The last two are from Crane's The Red Badge of Courage. The third is the best rationalization of all.
Rationalizing 1222 "And then the thought came into her naughty little heart, that, since she would be suspected of having looked into the box, she might just as well do so, at once." “The Paradise of Children”
Rationalizing 1222 "I am resolved to take just one peep! Only one peep; and then the lid shall be shut down as safely as ever…cannot possibly be any harm in just one little peep!" “The Paradise of Children”
Rationalizing 372 "The chaplain had mastered…the handy technique of protective rationalization…almost no trick at all…to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice…merely required no character." Heller, Catch-22.
Rationalizing 51 "He had fled, he told himself, because annihilation approached…had done a good part in saving himself, who was a little piece of the army…had considered the time…to be one in which it was the duty of every little piece to rescue itself if possible…later the officers could fit the little pieces together again, and make a battle front…if none of the little pieces were wise enough to save themselves from the flurry of death at such a time, why, then where would be the army…all plain that he had proceeded according to very correct and commendable rules…actions had been sagacious…had been full of strategy." Crane, The Red Badge of Courage.
Rationalizing 53 " He threw a pine cone at a jovial squirrel, and he ran with chattering fear…youth felt triumphant at this exhibition…nature had given him a sign…squirrel, immediately upon recognizing danger, had taken to his legs without ado…did not stand stolidly baring his furry belly to the missile, and die with an upward glance at the sympathetic heavens…had fled as fast as his legs could carry him; and he was but an ordinary squirrel, too—doubtless no philosopher of his race…nature was of his mind…reinforced his arguments with proofs that lived where the sun shone." Crane, The Red Badge of Courage.