30+ quotes from Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Quotes from Oryx and Crake

Margaret Atwood ·  400 pages

Rating: (179.5K votes)


“If he wants to be an asshole, it's a free country. Millions before him have made the same life choice.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“He doesn't know which is worse, a past he can't regain or a present that will destroy him if he looks at it too clearly. Then there's the future. Sheer vertigo.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“They spent the first three years of school getting you to pretend stuff and then the rest of it marking you down if you did the same thing.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“Nature is to zoos as God is to churches.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“After everything that's happened, how can the world still be so beautiful? Because it is.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“All it takes,” said Crake, “is the elimination of one generation. One generation of anything. Beetles, trees, microbes, scientists, speakers of French, whatever. Break the link in time between one generation and the next, and it’s game over forever.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“Immortality,' said Crake, ' is a concept. If you take 'mortality' as being, not death, but the foreknowledge of it and the fear of it, then 'immortality' is the absence of such fear. Babies are immortal. Edit out the fear, and you'll be...”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“We understand more than we know.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“There's something to be said for hunger: at least it lets you know you're still alive.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“These things sneak up on him for no reason, these flashes of irrational happiness. It's probably a vitamin deficiency.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“When any civilization is dust and ashes," he said, "art is all that's left over. Images, words, music. Imaginative structures. Meaning—human meaning, that is—is defined by them. You have to admit that.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“The male frog in mating season," said Crake, "makes as much noise as it can. The females are attracted to the male frog with the biggest, deepest voice because it suggests a more powerful frog, one with superior genes. Small male frogs—it's been documented—discover if they position themselves in empty drainpipes, the pipe acts as a voice amplifier and the small frog appears much larger than it really is."
So?"
So that's what art is for the artist, an empty drainpipe. An amplifier. A stab at getting laid.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“Toast was a pointless invention from the Dark Ages. Toast was an implement of torture that caused all those subjected to it to regurgitate in verbal form the sins and crimes of their past lives. Toast was a ritual item devoured by fetishists in the belief that it would enhance their kinetic and sexual powers. Toast cannot be explained by any rational means.

Toast is me.

I am toast.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“When they're gone out of his head, these words, they'll be gone, everywhere, forever. As if they had never been.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“So this was the rest of his life. It felt like a party to which he'd been invited, but at an address he couldn't actually locate. Someone must be having fun at it, this life of his; only, right at the moment, it wasn't him.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“...how much needless despair has been caused by a series of biological mismatches, a misalignment of the hormones and pheromones? Resulting in the fact that the one you love so passionately won't or can't love you. As a species we're pathetic that way: imperfectly monogamous.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“EXTINCTATHON, Monitored by MaddAddam. Adam named the living animals, MaddAddam names the dead ones. Do you want to play?”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“You can’t buy it, but it has a price,” said Oryx. “Everything has a price.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“Men can imagine their own deaths, they can see them coming, and the mere though of impending death acts like an aphrodisiac. A dog or rabbit doesn't behave like that. Take birds -- in a lean season they cut down on the eggs, or they won't mate at all. They put their energy into staying alive themselves until times get better. But human beings hope they can stick their souls into someone else, some new version of themselves, and live on forever.

As a species were doomed by hope, then?

You could call it hope. That, or desperation.

But we're doomed without hope, as well, said Jimmy.

Only as individuals, said Crake cheerfully.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“Falling in love, although it resulted in altered body chemistry and was therefore real, was a hormonally induced delusional state, according to him. In addition it was humiliating, because it put you at a disadvantage, it gave the love object too much power. As for sex per se, it lacked both challenge and novelty, and was on the whole a deeply imperfect solution to the problem of intergenerational genetic transfer.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“He has to find more and better ways of occupying his time. His time, what a bankrupt idea, as if he's been given a box of time belonging to him alone, stuffed to the brim with hours and minutes that he can spend like money. Trouble is, the box has holes in it and the time is running out, no matter what he does with it.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“I am not my childhood,' Snowman says out loud.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“Jimmy, look at it realistically. You can't couple a minimum access to food with an expanding population indefinitely. Homo sapiens doesn't seem to be able to cut himself off at the supply end. He's one of the few species that doesn't limit reproduction in the face of dwindling resources. In other words - and up to a point, of course - the less we eat, the more we fuck."

"How to do you account for that?" said Jimmy

"Imagination," said Crake. "Men can imagine their own deaths...human beings hope they can stick their souls into someone else...and live on forever.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“I'll make you mine, lovers said in old books. They never said, I'll make you me.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“Why is it he feels some line has been crossed, some boundary transgressed? How much is too much, how far is too far?”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“When did the body first set out on its own adventures? Snowman thinks; after having ditched its old travelling companions, the mind and the soul, for whom it had once been considered a mere corrupt vessel or else a puppet acting out their dramas for them, or else bad company, leading the other two astray. it must have got tired of the soul’s constant nagging and whining and the anxiety-driven intellectual web-spinning of the mind, distracting it whenever it was getting its teeth into something juicy or its fingers into something good. It had dumped the other two back there somewhere, leaving them stranded in some damp sanctuary or stuffy lecture hall while it made a beeline for the topless bars, and it had dumped culture along with them: music and painting and poetry and plays. Sublimation, all of it; nothing but sublimation, according to the body. Why not cut to the chase?
But the body had its own cultural forms. It had its own art. Executions were its tragedies, pornography was its romance.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“Anyway, maybe there weren't any solutions. Human society, corpses and rubble. It never learned, it made the same cretinous mistakes over and over, trading short-term gain for long-term pain.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“expectation isn't the same as desire”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“She had no images of this love. She could offer no anecdotes. It was a belief rather than a memory.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


“So Crake never remembered his dreams. It's Snowman that remembers them instead. Worse than remembers: he's immersed in them, he'd wading through them, he's stuck in them. Every moment he's lived in the past few months was dreamed first by Crake. No wonder Crake screamed so much.”
― Margaret Atwood, quote from Oryx and Crake


About the author

Margaret Atwood
Born place: in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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