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Margaret Atwood quotes (showing 1-30 of 1,334)

“War is what happens when language fails.”
Margaret Atwood
tags: war
“A word after a word after a word is power.”
Margaret Atwood
“Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.”
Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye
“Love blurs your vision; but after it recedes, you can see more clearly than ever. It's like the tide going out, revealing whatever's been thrown away and sunk: broken bottles, old gloves, rusting pop cans, nibbled fishbodies, bones. This is the kind of thing you see if you sit in the darkness with open eyes, not knowing the future.”
Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard's Egg
“Don't let the bastards grind you down.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed and that necessary.”
Margaret Atwood
“I don't want to see anyone. I lie in the bedroom with the curtains drawn and nothingness washing over me like a sluggish wave. Whatever is happening to me is my own fault. I have done something wrong, something so huge I can't even see it, something that's drowning me. I am inadequate and stupid, without worth. I might as well be dead.”
Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye
“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”
Margaret Atwood
“If you knew what was going to happen, if you knew everything that was going to happen next—if you knew in advance the consequences of your own actions—you'd be doomed. You'd be ruined as God. You'd be a stone. You'd never eat or drink or laugh or get out of bed in the morning. You'd never love anyone, ever again. You'd never dare to.”
Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
“Longed for him. Got him. Shit.”
Margaret Atwood
“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“But who can remember pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“I read for pleasure and that is the moment I learn the most.”
Margaret Atwood
“The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.”
Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
“Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow.”
Margaret Atwood
“Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.”
Margaret Atwood, Surfacing
“When you're young, you think everything you do is disposable. You move from now to now, crumpling time up in your hands, tossing it away. You're your own speeding car. You think you can get rid of things, and people too—leave them behind. You don't yet know about the habit they have, of coming back.

Time in dreams is frozen. You can never get away from where you've been.”
Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
“Romance takes place in the middle distance. Romance is looking in at yourself through a window clouded with dew. Romance means leaving things out: where life grunts and shuffles, romance only sighs.”
Margaret Atwood
“Falling in love, we said; I fell for him. We were falling women. We believed in it, this downward motion: so lovely, like flying, and yet at the same time so dire, so extreme, so unlikely. God is love, they once said, but we reversed that, and love, like heaven, was always just around the corner. The more difficult it was to love the particular man beside us, the more we believed in Love, abstract and total. We were waiting, always, for the incarnation. That word, made flesh.

And sometimes it happened, for a time. That kind of love comes and goes and is hard to remember afterwards, like pain. You would look at the man one day and you would think, I loved you, and the tense would be past, and you would be filled with a sense of wonder, because it was such an amazing and precarious and dumb thing to have done; and you would know too why your friends had been evasive about it, at the time.

There is a good deal of comfort, now, in remembering this.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
tags: love
“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom.
We lived in the gaps between the stories.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“Love blurs your vision; but after it recedes, you can see more clearly than ever. It's like the tide going out, revealing whatever's been thrown away and sunk: broken bottles, old gloves, rusting pop cans, nibbled fishbodies, bones. This is the kind of thing you see if you sit in the darkness with open eyes, not knowing the future. The ruin you've made.”
Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye
tags: love
“We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.”
Margaret Atwood
“You fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye”
Margaret Atwood
“A truth should exist,
it should not be used
like this. If I love you

is that a fact or a weapon?”
Margaret Atwood
“How could I be sleeping with this particular man.... Surely only true love could justify my lack of taste.”
Margaret Atwood, Lady Oracle
“And she finds it difficult to believe—that a person would love her even when she isn't trying. Trying to figure out what other people need, trying to be worthy.”
Margaret Atwood
“Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth.”
Margaret Atwood, Der blinde Mörder
“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad
“Knowing too much about other people puts you in their power, they have a claim on you, you are forced to understand their reasons for doing things and then you are weakened.”
Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye

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