92+ Best Margaret Atwood Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Margaret Eleanor Atwood is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher, and environmental activist. Profoundly inspirational Margaret Atwood quotes will challenge the way you think, and make your life worth living.

If you’re searching for meaningful quotes by greatest poets that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of profound Eliphas Levi quotes, amazing Emily Dickinson quotes and top Mary Oliver quotes.

Famous Margaret Atwood Quotes

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. Margaret Atwood

War is what happens when language fails. Margaret Atwood

I hope that people will finally come to realize that there is only one race the human race and that we are all members of it. Margaret Atwood

I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed and that necessary. Margaret Atwood

If I waited for perfection. I would never write a word. Margaret Atwood

Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them. Margaret Atwood

Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy which many believe goes hand in hand with it will be dead as well. Margaret Atwood

A word after a word after a word is power. Margaret Atwood

A divorce is like an amputation you survive it, but there’s less of you. Margaret Atwood

Don’t let the bastards grind you down. Margaret Atwood

I’m a strict, strict agnostic. It’s very different from a casual, I don’t know. It’s that you cannot present as knowledge something that is not knowledge. You can present it as faith, you can present it as belief, but you can’t present it as fact. Margaret Atwood

Male fantasies, male fantasies, is everything run by male fantasies? Up on a pedestal or down on your knees, it’s all a male fantasy that you’re strong enough to take what they dish out, or else too weak to do anything about it. Even pretending you aren’t catering to male fantasies is a male fantasy pretending you’re unseen, pretending you have a life of your own, that you can wash your feet and comb your hair unconscious of the ever present watcher peering through the keyhole, peering through the keyhole in your own head, if nowhere else. You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur. Margaret Atwood

If you’re put on a pedestal, you’re supposed to behave yourself like a pedestal type of person. Pedestals actually have a limited circumference. Not much room to move around. Margaret Atwood

Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise. Margaret Atwood

Science is a tool, and we invent tools to do things we want. It’s a question of how those tools are used by people. Margaret Atwood

Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it. Margaret Atwood

Heroes need monsters to establish their heroic credentials. You need something scary to overcome. Margaret Atwood

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. Margaret Atwood

Reality simply consists of different points of view. Margaret Atwood

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. Margaret Atwood

The genesis of a poem for me is usually a cluster of words. The only good metaphor I can think of is a scientific one dipping a thread into a supersaturated solution to induce crystal formation. I don’t think I solve problems in my poetry; I think I uncover the problems. Margaret Atwood

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. Margaret Atwood

Optimism means better than reality; pessimism means worse than reality. I’m a realist. Margaret Atwood

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. Margaret Atwood

Storytelling is a very old human skill that gives us an evolutionary advantage. If you can tell young people how you kill an emu, acted out in song or dance, or that Uncle George was eaten by a croc over there, don’t go there to swim, then those young people don’t have to find out by trial and error. Margaret Atwood

But who can remember pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind. Margaret Atwood

I grew up in the north woods of Canada. You had to know certain things about survival. Wilderness survival courses weren’t very formalized when I was growing up, but I was taught certain things about what to do if I got lost in the woods. Margaret Atwood

Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse, for some. Margaret Atwood

Never pray for justice, because you might get some. Margaret Atwood

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories. Margaret Atwood

The answers you get from literature depend on the questions you pose. Margaret Atwood

If you knew what was going to happen, if you knew everything that was going to happen next if you knew in advance the consequences of your own actions you’d be doomed. You’d be ruined as God. You’d be a stone. You’d never eat or drink or laugh or get out of bed in the morning. You’d never love anyone, ever again. You’d never dare to. Margaret Atwood

We have to rethink our whole energy approach, which is hard to do because we’re so dependent on oil, not just for fuel but also plastic. If plastic vanished, there would be total chaos. We have to think quite carefully about using oil and its derivatives, because it’s not going to be around forever. Margaret Atwood

Longed for him. Got him. Shit. Margaret Atwood

The beginning of Canadian cultural nationalism was not Am I really that oppressed? but Am I really that boring? Margaret Atwood

Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does. Margaret Atwood

My brother and I were both good at science, and we were both good at English literature. Either one of us could have gone either way. Margaret Atwood

I read for pleasure and that is the moment I learn the most. Margaret Atwood

Our problem right now is that we’re so specialized that if the lights go out, there are a huge number of people who are not going to know what to do. But within every dystopia there’s a little utopia. Margaret Atwood

The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it. Margaret Atwood

War is what happens when language fails. Margaret Atwood

When we think of the past it’s the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that. Margaret Atwood

Myths can’t be translated as they did in their ancient soil. We can only find our own meaning in our own time. Margaret Atwood

A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze. Margaret Atwood

The Eskimos had fifty two names for snow because it was important to them there ought to be as many for love. Margaret Atwood

Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow. Margaret Atwood

Sooner or later, I hate to break it to you, you’re gonna die, so how do you fill in the space between here and there? It’s yours. Seize your space.  Margaret Atwood

Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results. Margaret Atwood

We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly. Margaret Atwood

You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself. Margaret Atwood

If social stability goes pear shaped, you have a choice between anarchy and dictatorship. Most people will opt for more security, even if they have to give up some personal freedom. Margaret Atwood

There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it. Margaret Atwood

Every aspect of human technology has a dark side, including the bow and arrow. Margaret Atwood

We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly. Margaret Atwood

This above all, to refuse to be a victim. Margaret Atwood

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Margaret Atwood

All fiction is about people, unless it’s about rabbits pretending to be people. It’s all essentially characters in action, which means characters moving through time and changes taking place, and that’s what we call the plot. Margaret Atwood

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. Margaret Atwood

Social media is called social media for a reason. It lends itself to sharing rather than horn tooting. Margaret Atwood

But people will do anything rather than admit that their lives have no meaning. No use, that is. No plot. Margaret Atwood

Every utopia let’s just stick with the literary ones faces the same problem What do you do with the people who don’t fit in? Margaret Atwood

But remember that forgiveness too is a power. To beg for it is a power, and to withhold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest. Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it isn’t really about who can own whom, who can do what to whom and get away with it, even as far as death. Maybe it isn’t about who can sit and who has to kneel or stand or lie down, legs spread open. Maybe it’s about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it. Never tell me it amounts to the same thing. Margaret Atwood

All fat women look the same; they all look 42. Margaret Atwood

If we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged. Margaret Atwood

People use technology only to mean digital technology. Technology is actually everything we make. Margaret Atwood

Romance takes place in the middle distance. Romance is looking in at yourself through a window clouded with dew. Romance means leaving things out: where life grunts and shuffles, romance only sighs. Margaret Atwood

If one of the arguments against eating meat is to do with cruelty and animal intelligence, then lab meat avoids that. There’s also the environmental argument for it. Margaret Atwood

Farewells can be shattering, but returns are surely worse. Solid flesh can never live up to the bright shadow cast by its absence. Time and distance blur the edges; then suddenly the beloved has arrived, and it’s noon with its merciless light, and every spot and pore and wrinkle and bristle stands clear. Margaret Atwood

If I pick up a book with spaceships on the cover, I want spaceships. If I see one with dragons, I want there to be dragons inside the book. Proper labeling. Ethical labeling. I don’t want to open up my cornflakes and find that they’re full of pebbles. You need to respect the reader enough not to call it something it isn’t. Margaret Atwood

Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth. Margaret Atwood

A word after a word after a word is power. Margaret Atwood

We thought we had such problems. How were we to know we were happy? Margaret Atwood

When I am writing fiction, I believe I am much better organized, more methodical one has to be when writing a novel. Writing poetry is a state of free float. Margaret Atwood

The moment of betrayal is the worst, the moment when you know beyond any doubt that you’ve been betrayed that some other human being has wished you that much evil. Margaret Atwood

The society in The Handmaid’s Tale is a throwback to the early Puritans whom I studied extensively at Harvard under Perry Miller, to whom the book is dedicated. Margaret Atwood

What I need is perspective. The illusion of depth, created by a frame, the arrangement of shapes on a flat surface. Perspective is necessary. Otherwise there are only two dimensions. Otherwise you live with your face squashed up against a wall, everything a huge foreground, of details, close ups, hairs, the weave of the bedsheet, the molecules of the face. Your own skin like a map, a diagram of futility, criscrossed with tiny roads that lead nowhere. Otherwise you live in the moment. Which is not where I want to be. Margaret Atwood

If you feel that there’s the author and then the character, then the book is not working. People have a habit of identifying the author with the narrator, and you can’t, obviously, be all of the narrators in all of your books, or else you’d be a very strange person indeed. Margaret Atwood

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. Margaret Atwood

Another belief of mine; that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise. Margaret Atwood

The best way of keeping a secret is to pretend there isn’t one. Margaret Atwood

You’re never going to kill storytelling, because it’s built into the human plan. We come with it. Margaret Atwood

And she finds it difficult to believe that a person would love her even when she isn’t trying. Trying to figure out what other people need, trying to be worthy. Margaret Atwood

An eye for an eye only leads to more blindness. Margaret Atwood

Night falls. Or has fallen. Why is it that night falls, instead of rising, like the dawn? Yet if you look east, at sunset, you can see night rising, not falling; darkness lifting into the sky, up from the horizon, like a black sun behind cloud cover. Like smoke from an unseen fire, a line of fire just below the horizon, brushfire or a burning city. Maybe night falls because it’s heavy, a thick curtain pulled up over the eyes. Wool blanket. Margaret Atwood

A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together. Margaret Atwood

Women have curious ways of hurting someone else. They hurt themselves instead; or else they do it so the guy doesn’t even know he’s been hurt until much later. Then he finds out. Then his dick falls off. Margaret Atwood

Victorian literature was my subject at Harvard. Margaret Atwood

I am not your justification for existence. Margaret Atwood

When things are really dismal, you can laugh, or you can cave in completely. Margaret Atwood