Quotes from White is for Witching

Helen Oyeyemi ·  244 pages

Rating: (4.4K votes)


“Please tell a story about a girl who gets away.”
I would, even if I had to adapt one, even if I had to make one up just for her. “Gets away from what, though?”
“From her fairy godmother. From the happy ending that isn’t really happy at all. Please have her get out and run off the page altogether, to somewhere secret where words like ‘happy’ and ‘good’ will never find her.”
“You don’t want her to be happy and good?”
“I’m not sure what’s really meant by happy and good. I would like her to be free. Now. Please begin.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“I know of witches who whistle at different pitches, calling things that don't have names.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“In Narnia a girl might ring a bell in a deserted temple and feel the chime in her eyes, pure as the freeze that forces tears. Then when the sound dies out, the White Witch wakes. It was like, I want to touch you, and I can touch you, now what next, a dagger?”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“I collected pictures and I drew pictures and I looked at the pictures by myself. And because no one else ever saw them, the pictures were perfect and true. They were alive.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“But then, maybe “I don’t believe in you” is the cruelest way to kill a monster.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching



“I've read that madness is present when everything you see and hear takes on an equal significance. A dead bird makes you cry, and so does a doorknob.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“Juju is not enough to protect you. Everything you have I will turn against you. I'll turn sugar bitter for you. I'll take your very shield and crack it on your head.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“Dear Miranda Silver,
This house is bigger than you know! There are extra floors, with lots of people in them. They are looking people. They look at you, and they never move. We do not like them. We do not like this house, and we are glad to be going away. This is the end of our letter.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“She looked at the last thing she had written and she felt calm. Then she crossed the words out vehemently, scribbling until even the shape of the sentence was destroyed.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“It was the dread that comes about when you are allowed to have something that seems costly and yet you're not asked for payment.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching



“She was much too thin. She was serene, like someone accustomed to sickness, someone who layed back to back with it in bed.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“Everyone would believe her because at the back of their minds, everyone thinks that twin brothers and sisters grow up magnetized towards each other, the prince at the foot of Rapunzel’s tower before the tower is even built, the lover you can get at all the fucking time, the one who is you but a girl, or you but a boy, whose bed you know as well as your own. How could you endure that without falling in love? The question is, were they born in love with each other, these twins, or did it blossom? At any rate it’s already happened, the onlookers agree. It must have. Ask them when they fell. The brother and sister say no, no, it’s nothing like that, but what they mean is that they can’t remember when.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“Why do people go to these places, these places that are not for them?
It must be that they believe in their night vision. They believe themselves able to draw images up out of the dark.
But black wells only yield black water.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“Why do people go to these places, these places that are not for them? It must be that they believe in their night vision. They believe themselves able to draw images up out of the dark. But black wells only yield black water.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“Aside from infrequent comments ("Cheer up, love," or "It's not Hallo'ween"), no one wondered why a teenager was dressed up as a chic governess. Sylvie approved of Miri, even at the same time as she was confused by her. "It's a style at least," she said, and took off her rope of pearls and looped them around Miri's neck.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching



“You come without papers because you have been unable to prove that you are useful to anyone, and when you arrive they put you in prison and if you are unable to prove that you have suffered they send you back.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“White is for witching, a colour to be worn so that all other colours can enter you, so that you may use them. At a pinch, cream will do.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“Later in the morning Miranda opened her wardrobe and found it full of clammy ghosts that hovered around her body when she put them on. The cold trickled down in the gaps between the material and her chest. Scarecrow girl. She felt proud and nauseous, chosen and moulded by hands that froze.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“Miranda put a hand over her face and looked through her fingers, the world in pieces, her father's legs gone, the woman's torso vanished. Now they looked like broken dolls, their jaws clacking, breeze blowing through their hollows.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“Most nights she went with the moon, and when it was round she stayed in my biggest bedroom and wouldn’t answer the thing that asked her to let it out
(let you out from where?
let me out from the small, the hot, the take me out of the fire i am ready i am hard like the stones you ate, bitter like those husks)
the moonlight striped her, marked out places where the whispering thing would slip through and she would unfold.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching



“In a psychomantium glass topples darkness. Things appear as they really are, people appear as they really are. Visions are called from a point inside the mirror, from a point inside the mind.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“...she was herself entire, and knew she could not be consumed.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“Why are you reading that book? Are you in doubt about something?”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“Lily’s eye transformed places. She looked at structures and they turned inside out and offered her their desolate jigsaw patterns. Once”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“I had never seen her wearing lipstick, but knew better than to say so in case she did that mysterious alchemy some girls do and transformed the comment into my accusing her of having gained weight.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching



“Jennifer Silver lived quite long. She didn't die until 1994. A reason why Lily never felt motherless was that her mother was there with her, a door and a curtain away.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“Miranda found sunflowers very ugly, and yellow made her so nervous that she suspected it was the cause of war.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“She didn't look into the mirror itself. She was becoming someone, it seemed. She had read somewhere that you only became a woman once your mother had died. But that wasn't what worried her. She worried about becoming as perfect as the person shown to her on paper in Lily's studio.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


“I remembered something from a short story I'd read, about how the girl you want is the girl you see once and then she is nowhere to be found. The girl who does not appear in the crowded room.”
― Helen Oyeyemi, quote from White is for Witching


About the author

Helen Oyeyemi
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