White Oleander Quotes

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White Oleander White Oleander by Janet Fitch
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White Oleander Quotes (showing 1-30 of 225)
“
Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you'll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“Always learn poems by heart. They have to become the marrow in your bones. Like fluoride in the water, they'll make your soul impervious to the world's soft decay.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight to flamenco guitar.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“The phoenix must burn to emerge.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“Let me tell you a few things about regret...There is no end to it. You cannot find the beginning of the chain that brought us from there to here. Should you regret the whole chain, and the air in between, or each link separately as if you could uncouple them? Do you regret the beginning which ended so badly, or just the ending itself?”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“Isn't it funny.I'm enjoying my hatred so much more than i ever enjoyed love. Love is temperamental. Tiring. It makes demands. Love uses you, changes its mind. But hatred, now, that's something you can use. Sculpt. Wield. It's hard, or soft, however you need it. Love humiliates you, but Hatred cradles you.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“I don't let anyone touch me," I finally said.
Why not?"
Why not? Because I was tired of men. Hanging in doorways, standing too close, their smell of beer or fifteen-year-old whiskey. Men who didn't come to the emergency room with you, men who left on Christmas Eve. Men who slammed the security gates, who made you love them then changed their minds. Forests of boys, their ragged shrubs full of eyes following you, grabbing your breasts, waving their money, eyes already knocking you down, taking what they felt was theirs. (...) It was a play and I knew how it ended, I didn't want to audition for any of the roles. It was no game, no casual thrill. It was three-bullet Russian roulette.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“The pearls weren't really white, they were a warm oyster beige, with little knots in between so if they broke, you only lost one. I wished my life could be like that, knotted up so that even if something broke, the whole thing wouldn't come apart.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“I regret nothing. No woman with any self-respect would have done less. The question of good and evil will always be one of philosophy's most intriguing problems, up there with the problem of existence itself. I'm not quarreling with your choice of issues, only with your intellectually diminished approach. If evil means to be self-motivated, to live on one's own terms, then every artist, every thinker, every original mind, is evil. Because we dare to look through our own eyes rather than mouth cliches lent us from the so-called Fathers. To dare to see is to steal fire from the Gods. This is mankind's destiny, the engine which fuels us as a race. ”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“It's such a liability to love another person.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“I know what you are learning to endure. There is nothing to be done. Make sure nothing is wasted. Take notes. Remember it all, every insult, every tear. Tattoo it on the inside of your mind. In life, knowledge of poisons is essential. I've told you, nobody becomes an artist unless they have to.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“I imagined the lies the valedictorian was telling them right now. About the exciting future that lies ahead. I wish she'd tell them the truth: Half of you have gone as far in life as you're ever going to. Look around. It's all downhill from here. The rest of us will go a bit further, a steady job, a trip to Hawaii, or a move to Phoenix, Arizona, but out of fifteen hundred how many will do anything truly worthwhile, write a play, paint a painting that will hang in a gallery, find a cure for herpes? Two of us, maybe three? And how many will find true love? About the same. And enlightenment? Maybe one. The rest of us will make compromises, find excuses, someone or something to blame, and hold that over our hearts like a pendant on a chain.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“I understood why she did it. At that moment I knew why people tagged graffiti on the walls of neat little houses and scratched the paint on new cars and beat up well-tended children. It was only natural to want to destroy something you could never have.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“I hated labels anyway. People didn't fit in slots--prostitute, housewife, saint--like sorting the mail. We were so mutable, fluid with fear and desire, ideals and angles, changeable as water.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“To know I was beautiful in his eyes made me beautiful. ”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“Women always put men first. That's how everything got so screwed up.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“Beauty was deceptive. I would rather wear my pain, my ugliness. I was torn and stitched. I was a strip mine, and they would just have to look. I hoped I made them sick. I hoped they saw me in their dreams.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“That was the thing about words, they were clear and specific-chair, eye, stone- but when you talked about feelings, words were too stiff, they were this and not that, they couldn't include all the meanings. In defining, they always left something out.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“How vast was a human being's capacity for suffering. The only thing you could do was stand in awe of it. It wasn't a question of survival at all. It was the fullness of it, how much could you hold, how much could you care.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“...You know the mistrust of heights is the mistrust of self, you don't know whether you're going to jump.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“Oleander time, she said. Lovers who kill each other now will blame it on the wind. ”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“Just because a poet said something didn’t mean it was true, only that it sounded good.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“And I realized as I walked through the neighborhood how each house could contain a completely different reality. In a single block, there could be fifty seperate worlds. Nobody ever really knew what was going on just next door. ”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“But I knew one more thing. That people w ho denied who they were or where they had been were in the greatest danger.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“Don't turn over the rocks if you don't want to see the pale creatures who live under them.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“Panic was the worst thing. When you panicked, you couldn't see possibilities. Then came despair.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“If sinners where so unhappy, why would they prefer their suffering?
But now I knew why. Without my wounds, who was I?”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“It's all I ever really wanted, that revelation. The possibility of fixed stars.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“Whenever she turned her steep focus to me, I felt the warmth that flowers must feel when they bloom through the snow, under the first concentrated rays of the sun.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander
“When you started thinking it was easy, you were forgetting what it cost.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

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