Margaret Atwood’s “Cat’s Eye” Quotes (37 Quotes)


    He's lost something, some illusion I used to think was necessary to him. He's come to realize he too is human. Or is this a performance, for my benefit, to show me he's up-to-date? Maybe men shouldn't have been told about their own humanity. It's only made them uncomfortable. It's only made them trickier, slier, more evasive, harder to read.

    The alcohol smell is on my fingers, cold and remote, piercing like a steel pin going in. It smells like white enamel basins. When I look up at the stars in the nighttime, cold and white and sharp, I think they must smell like that.


    The world is being run by people my age, men my age, with falling-out hair and health worries, and it frightens me. When the leaders were older than me I could believe in their wisdom, I could believe they had transcended rage and malice and the need to be loved. Now I know better. I look at the faces in newspapers, in magazines, and wonder: what greeds, what furies drive them on?

    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.



    I have periods now, like normal girls; I too am among the knowing, I too can sit out volleyball games and go to the nurse's for aspirin and waddle along the halls with a pad like a flattened rabbit tail wadded between my legs, sopping with liver-colored blood.

    There's blood, a taste I remember. It tastes of orange popsicles, penny gumballs, red licorice, gnawed hair, dirty ice.


    This is the middle of my life, I think of it as a place, like the middle of a river, the middle of a bridge, halfway across, halfway over. I'm supposed to have accumulated things by now: possessions, responsibilities, achievements, experience and wisdom. I'm supposed to be a person of substance.

    I lie on the floor, washed by nothing and hanging on. I cry at night. I am afraid of hearing voices, or a voice. I have come to the edge, of the land. I could get pushed over.

    This is what I miss, Cordelia: not something that's gone, but something that will never happen. Two old women giggling over their tea.

    I see that there will be no end to imperfection, or to doing things the wrong way. Even if you grow up, no matter how hard you scrub, whatever you do, there will always be some other stain or spot on your face or stupid act, somebody frowning.

    Today on the way home, it snows. Big, soft caressing flakes fall onto our skin like cold moths; the air fills with feathers.

    A wave of blood goes up to my head, my stomach shrinks together, as if something dangerous has just missed hitting me. It's as if I've been caught stealing, or telling a lie; or as if I've heard other people talking about me, saying bad things about me, behind my back. There's the same flush of shame, of guilt and terror, and of cold disgust with myself. But I don't know where these feelings have come from, what I've done.


    Vanity is becoming a nuisance, I can see why women give it up, eventually. But I'm not ready for that yet.

    But I began then to think of time as having a shape, something you could see, like a series of liquid transparencies, one laid on top of another.

    It has thrown off its disguise as a meal and has revealed itself to me for what it is, a large dead bird. I'm eating a wing. It's the wing of a tame turkey, the stupidest bird in the world, so stupid it can't even fly any more. I am eating lost flight.


    Craziness was considered funny, like all other things that were in reality frightening and profoundly shameful.


    While in a vintage restaurant..."the past isn't quaint while you're in it. Only at a safe distance, later, when you see it as decor, not as the shape your life's been squeezed into.

    Despite their cool poses they wear their cravings on the outside, like the suckers on a squid. They want it all.


    Women are hard to keep track of, most of them. They slip into other names, and sink without a trace.

    For these dances the boys send corsages, which I keep afterward and keep in my bureau drawer; squashed carnations and brown-edged rosebuds, wads of dead vegetation, like a collection of floral shrunken heads.

    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.

    You don't look back along time but down through it, like water. Sometimes this comes to the surface, sometimes that, sometimes nothing. Nothing goes away.


    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.

    Happy as a clam, is what my mother says for happy. I am happy as a clam: hard-shelled, firmly closed.

    My hands are out of practice, my eyes disused. Most of what I do is drawing, because the preparation of the surface, the laborious underpainting and detailed concentration... are too much for me. I have lost confidence: perhaps all I will ever be is what I am now.

    Hatred would have been easier. With hatred, I would have known what to do. Hatred is clear, metallic, one-handed, unwavering; unlike love.

    Old lovers go the way of old photographs, bleaching out gradually as in a slow bath of acid: first the moles and pimples, then the shadings. Then the faces themselves, until nothing remains but the general outlines.

    He considers me also a little fragile because artistic. I need to be cared for, like a potted plant.



    More Margaret Atwood Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Love - Man - Time - Woman - Mind - Power - Body - Education - Nature - God - Future - Life - Water - Thought & Thinking - Money & Wealth - Sex - Past - World - War & Peace - View All Margaret Atwood Quotations

    More Margaret Atwood Quotations (By Book Titles)


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    - The Blind Assassin
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