Jeffrey Eugenides Quotes (displaying: 1 - 10 of 354 quotes)
Then one Sunday morning, before winter break, Abby's boyfriend, Whitney, materialized at their kitchen table, reading something called "Of Grammatology". When Madeleine asked what the book was about, she was given to understand by Whitney that the idea of a book being "about" something was exactly what this book was against, and that, if it was "about" anything, then it was about the need to stop thinking of books as being about things.
What were he and his friends doing, really, other than hanging from a branch, sticking their tongues out to catch the sweetness? He thought about the people he knew, with their excellent young bodies, their summerhouses, their cool clothes, their potent drugs, their liberalism, their orgasms, their haircuts. Everything they did was either pleasurable in itself or engineered to bring pleasure down the line. Even the people he knew who were "political" and who protested the war in El Salvador did so largely in order to bathe themselves in an attractively crusading light. And the artists were the worst, the painters and the writers, because they believed they were living for art when they were really feeding their narcissism. Mitchell had always prided himself on his discipline. He studied harder than anyone he knew. But that was just his way of tightening his grip on the branch.
It didn't matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls, but only that we had loved them, and that they hadn't heard us calling, still do not hear us, up here in the tree house, with our thinning hair and soft bellies, calling them out of those rooms where they went to be alone for all time, alone in suicide, which is deeper than death, and where we will never find the pieces to put them back together.
Depending on the year or the therapist he was seeing, he'd learned to ascribe just about every facet of his character as a psychological reaction to his parents' fighting: his laziness, his overachieving, his tendency to isolate, his tendency to seduce, his hypochondria, his sense of invulnerability, his self-loathing, his narcissism.
I tell my students that when you write, you should pretend yo?re writing the best letter you ever wrote to the smartest friend you have. That way, yo?ll never dumb things down. You wo?t have to explain things that do?t need explaining. Yo?ll assume an intimacy and a natural shorthand, which is good because readers are smart and do?t wish to be condescended to. I think about the reader. I care about the reader. Not?audience? Not?readership? Just the reader.
Historical fact: People stopped being people in 1913. That was the year Henry Ford put his cars on rollers and made his workers adopt the speed of the assembly line. At first, workers rebelled. They quit in droves, unable to accustom their bodies to the new pace of the age. Since then, however, the adaptation has been passed down: we've all inherited it to some degree, so that we plug right into joy-sticks and remotes, to repetitive motions of a hundred kinds.
I was beginning to understand something about normality. Normality wasn't normal. It couldn't be. If normality were normal, everybody could leave it alone. They could sit back and let normality manifest itself. But people-and especially doctors- had doubts about normality. They weren't sure normality was up the job. And so they felt inclined to give it a boost.