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Margaret Atwood quotes Showing 1-30 of 5,146

“War is what happens when language fails.”
Margaret Atwood
tags: war
“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
“A word after a word after a word is power.”
Margaret Atwood
“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”
Margaret Atwood
“Don't let the bastards grind you down.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.”
Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard's Egg
“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
“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“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
“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don't let the bastards grind you down.”
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
“Better never means better for everyone... It always means worse, for some.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“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
“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
“Male fantasies, male fantasies, is everything run by male fantasies? Up on a pedestal or down on your knees, it's all a male fantasy: that you're strong enough to take what they dish out, or else too weak to do anything about it. Even pretending you aren't catering to male fantasies is a male fantasy: pretending you're unseen, pretending you have a life of your own, that you can wash your feet and comb your hair unconscious of the ever-present watcher peering through the keyhole, peering through the keyhole in your own head, if nowhere else. You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur.”
Margaret Atwood, The Robber Bride
“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
“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
“When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“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
“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
“A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“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
“You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.”
Margaret Atwood
“There is more than one kind of freedom," said Aunt Lydia. "Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

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