30+ quotes from The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

Quotes from The Marriage Plot

Jeffrey Eugenides ·  406 pages

Rating: (102.6K votes)


“Depression is like a bruise that never goes away. A bruise in your mind. You just got to be careful not to touch it where it hurts. It's always there, though.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“She'd become an English major for the purest and dullest of reasons: because she loved to read.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“That was when Leonard realized something crucial about depression. The smarter you were, the worse it was. The sharper your brain, the more it cut you up.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“There are some books that reached through the noise of life to grab you by the collar and speak only of the truest things.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“She may have looked normal on the outside, but once you'd seen her handwriting you knew she was deliciously complicated inside.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“People don't save other people. People save themselves.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“In Madeleine's face was a stupidity Mitchell had never seen before. It was the stupidity of all normal people. It was the stupidity of the fortunate and the beautiful, of everybody who got what they wanted in life and so remained unremarkable.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“She wanted a book to take her places she couldn't get to herself.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“He remained heartbroken, which meant one of two things: either his love was pure and true and earthshakingly significant; or he was addicted to feeling forlorn, he liked being heartbroken.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“It was possible to feel superior to other people and feel like a misfit at the same time.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“Some people majored in English to prepare for law school. Others became journalists. The smartest guy in the honors program, Adam Vogel, a child of academics, was planning on getting a Ph.D. and becoming an academic himself. That left a large contingent of people majoring in English by default. Because they weren't left-brained enough for science, because history was too try, philosophy too difficult, geology too petroleum-oriented, and math too mathematical - because they weren't musical, artistic, financially motivated, or really all that smart, these people were pursuing university degrees doing something no different from what they'd done in first grade: reading stories. English was what people who didn't know what to major in majored in.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“There were some books that reached through the noise of life to grab you by the collar and speak only of the truest things. A Confession was a book like that. In it, Tolstoy related a Russian fable about a man who, being chased by a monster, jumps into a well. As the man is falling down the well, however, he sees there's a dragon at the bottom, waiting to eat him. Right then, the man notices a branch sticking out of the wall, and he grabs on to it, and hangs. This keeps the man from falling into the dragon's jaws, or being eaten by the monster above, but it turns out there's another little problem. Two mice, one black and one white, are scurrying around and around the branch, nibbling it. It's only a matter of time before they will chew through the branch, causing the man to fall. As the man contemplates his inescapable fate, he notices something else: from the end of the branch he's holding, a few drops of honey are dripping. The man sticks out his tongue to lick them. This, Tolstoy says, is our human predicament: we're the man clutching the branch. Death awaits us. There is no escape. And so we distract ourselves by licking whatever drops of honey come within our reach.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“College wasn't like the real world. In the real world people dropped names based on their renown. In college, people dropped names based on their obscurity.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“Every letter was a love letter.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“If you grew up in a house where you weren't loved, you didn't know there was an alternative. If you grew up with emotionally stunted parents, who were unhappy in their marriage and prone to visit that unhappiness on their children, you didn't know they were doing this. It was just your life. If you had an accident, at the age of four, when you were supposed to be a big boy, and were later served a plate of feces at the dinner table - if you were told to eat it because you liked it, didn't you, you must like it or you wouldn't have so many accidents - you didn't know that this wasn't happening in the other houses in your neighborhood. If your father left your family, and disappeared, never to return, and your mother seemed to resent you, as you grew older, for being the same sex as your father, you had no one to turn to. In all these cases, the damage was done before you knew you were damaged. The worst part was that, as the years passed, these memories became, in the way you kept them in a secret box in your head, taking them out every so often to turn them over and over, something like dear possessions. They were the key to your unhappiness. The were the evidence that life wasn't fair. If you weren't a lucky child, you didn't know you weren't lucky until you got older. And then it was all you ever thought about.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“The lover`s discourse was of an extreme solitude. The solitude was extreme because it wasn`t physical. It was extreme because you felt it while in the company of the person you loved. It was extreme because it was in your head, the most solitary of places.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“To start with, look at all the books.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“-Who are you, anyway?
-Just someone who knows, from personal experience, how attractive it can be to think you can save somebody else by loving them.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“There comes a moment, when you get lost in the woods, when the woods begin to feel like home.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“But, like anyone in love, Madeleine believed that her own relationship was different from every other relationship, immune from typical problems.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“Mania was a mental state every bit as dangerous as depression. At first, however, it felt like a rush of euphoria. You were completely captivating, completely charming; everybody loved you. You took ridiculous physical risks, jumping out of a third-floor dorm room into a snowbank, for instance. It made you spend your year's fellowship money in five days. It was like having a wild party in your head, a party at which you were the drunken host who refused to let anyone leave, who grabbed people by the collar and said, "Come on. One more!" When those people inevitably did vanish, you went out and found others, anyone and anything to keep the party going. You couldn't stop talking. Everything you said was brilliant. You just had the best idea. Let's drive down to New York! Tonight! Let's climb on top of List and watch the sunrise! Leonard got people to do these things. He led them on incredible escapades. But at some point things began to turn. His mind felt as if it was fizzing over. Words became other words inside his head, like patterns in a kaleidoscope. He kept making puns. No one understood what he was talking about. He became angry, irritable. Now, when he looked at people, who'd been laughing at his jokes an hour earlier, he saw that they were worried, concerned for him. And so he ran off into the night, or day, or night, and found other people to be with, so that the mad party might continue...”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“Though at this moment she felt abused, abandoned, and ashamed of herself, Madeleine knew that she was still young, that she had her whole life ahead of her--a life in which, if she persevered, she might do something special--and that part of persevering meant getting past moments just like this one, when people made you feel small, unlovable, and took away your confidence.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“She could become a spinster, like Emily Dickinson, writing poems full of dashes and brilliance, and never gaining weight.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“It took courage to let things fall apart so beautifully.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“The window gave onto a view of dove-gray roofs and balconies, each one containing the same cracked flowerpot and sleeping feline. It was as if the entire city of Paris had agreed to abide by a single understated taste. Each neighbor was doing his or her own to keep up standards, which was difficult because the French ideal wasn't clearly delineated like the neatness and greenness of American lawns, but more of a picturesque disrepair. It took courage to let things fall apart so beautifully.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“Dieting fooled you into thinking you could control your life.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“There were some books that reached through the noise of life to grab you by the collar and speak only of the truest things.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“Paris was a museum displaying exactly itself.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“What if you had faith and performed good works, what if you died and went to heaven, and what if all the people you met there were people you didn't like?”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


“Remember that day you said you loved me? Remember that? See, you could do that because you're basically a sane person, who grew up in a loving, sane family. You could take a risk like that. But in my family we didn't go around saying we loved each other. We went around screaming at each other. So what do I do, when you say you love me? I go and undermine it.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, quote from The Marriage Plot


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About the author

Jeffrey Eugenides
Born place: in Detroit, Michigan, The United States
Born date March 8, 1960
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Popular quotes

“The boats were filled mostly with steerage passengers who lived in Trebizond or were visiting relations there, and the women carried great bundles and sacks full of things, but the men carried suit-cases with sharp, square corners, which helped them very much in the struggle to get on and stay on the boats, for this was very violent and intense. More than one woman got shoved overboard into the sea during the struggle, and had to be dragged out by husbands and acquaintances, but one sank too deep and had to be left, for the boat-hooks could not reach her; all we saw were the apples out of her basket bobbing on the waves. I thought that women would not stand much chance in a shipwreck, and in the struggle for the boats many might fall in the sea and be forgotten, but the children would be saved all right, for Turks love their children, even the girls.”
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