Top 100

Top 450 Joyce Carol Oates Quotes (2023 Update)
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Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “When there is no longer any point in lying, no one will lie.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Of our hurts we make monuments of survival. If we survive.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Great handfuls of her life were being stolen from her and she would never be able to retrieve them.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “At such rare times you can feel the electrically charged neurons of the prefrontal brain realigning themselves like iron fillings drawn by a magnet.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Like many shy people, once he began talking he seemed not to know how to stop; he lacked the social sleight of hand to change the subject, and he had no idea how to engage another person. Like a runaway vehicle, he plunged on, heedless.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “He said no break is permanent. Like a bone that heals crooked, still it will heal.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “It is required that we must be fiercely beloved by one individual in order to exist: for Sabbath, Haley was that individual.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Loving our parents, we bring them into us. They inhabit us. For a long time I believed that I could not bear to live without Mom and Dad – I could not bear to “outlive” them – for to be a daughter without parents did not seem possible to me.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Loving Felix she’d acquired from him a certain arrogance, telling so many lies she’d acquired a zest for lies and quite preferred them to the truth. For a lie had to be invented, “truth” was common property.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Were you wounded when your marriage collapsed? When your love collapsed? Or does love never “collapse,” only just fade gradually away?”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Once upon a time the fairy tales begin. But then they end and often you don’t know really what has happened, what was meant to happen, you only know what you’ve been told, what the words suggest.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “It is utterly naive, futile, uninformed – to think that our species is exceptional. So designated to master the beasts of the Earth, as in the Book of Genesis!”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “The hard part of humanity is history. All that’s been done to human beings by other human beings. In the Rocky River Nature Preserve you didn’t have to think of such things.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “This was before voice mail, recorded phone messages you can’t escape. Life was easier then. You just didn’t pick up the phone.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “There was a Greek philosopher who taught that, of all things, not to have been born is the sweetest state. But I believe sleep is the sweetest state. You’re dead, yet alive. There’s no sensation so exquisite.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “We never have time, do we, for all that we don’t exactly want to do.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Our lives can only be interpreted in retrospect, yet must be lived from day to day, blindly. What folly, the human condition!”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Very few writers of distinction in fact were outstanding as undergraduates.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Writing is the most solitary of arts.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “I am thinking of having a T-shirt printed: Yes my husband died. Yes I am very sad. Yes you are kind to offer condolences. Now can we change the subject?”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “I am inclined to think that as I grow older I will come to be infatuated with the art of revision, and there may come a time when I will dread giving up a novel at all.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “At a time when politics deals in distortions and half truths, truth is to be found in the liberal arts. There’s something afoot in this country and you are very much a part of it.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Legs was always proud even before FOXFIRE, that’s the primary fact about Legs Sadovsky: pride.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “As our great American philosopher William James has said, an individual has as many selves as there are individuals whom he knows. There isn’t the slightest hypocrisy in this, but only pragmatic ethics. For not all persons are worthy of our acquaintance, and not all persons require equal time from us. You save your most valuable ‘personality’ for the most valuable persons you know.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “The denial of language is a suicidal one and we pay for it with our own lives.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Food doesn’t exist, but can only be invented. And reinvented.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Writing! The activity for which the only adequate bribe is the possibility of suicide, one day.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “To love life for some men is to love fighting, for fighting, and not love, is seen as man’s deepest passion.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “You are writing for your contemporaries – not for Posterity. If you are lucky, your contemporaries will become Posterity.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “That glass sliver in the heart. Amid a fluttery-delicious Benzedrine rush, virtually every remark made to you is freighted with destiny, a sweet-painful stab in the heart. And Benzedrine and champagne, what a combination! The Blond Actress was only just discovering what everybody else in Hollywood knew.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Much of my writing is energized by unresolved memories – something like ghosts in the psychological sense.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “I will be the clinician of my own pathology.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “The body can’t distinguish between cleansing and punishing for the body is ignorant, and mute besides.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Secrets have always been easy for me, it’s the opposite of secrets that is hard.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “All prices of all things – at least, useless beautiful things like rare books – are inherently absurd, rooted in the human imagination and in the all-too-human predilection to desperately want what others value highly, and to scorn what others fail to value.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Willy was more forceful, as Annabel seemed to glide;.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “He had no idea of my misery. It would have surprised him to think that I was a human creature with a soul.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “She was there beside him, an incalculable distance away.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Messes are made by people who want but don’t know what they want, let alone how to get it.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “The fundamental truth of my life whether in fact it was truth or a burlesque of truth: when a man wants you, you’re safe.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Love is what can’t be helped. When it waxes, and when it wanes. Love is what happens when you’ve been looking another way. Love is that sensation of something on the back of your neck, tell yourself it’s nothing, a strand of hair, at last you touch it and discover it’s an insect – you cast off with a curse.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “It makes me angry sometimes, it’s a visceral thing – how you come to despise your own words in your ears not because they aren’t genuine, but because they are; because you’ve said them so many times, your ‘principles,’ your ‘ideals’ – and so damned little in the world has changed because of them.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Then the noise faded and Legs squinted up at the sky, the moon so bright you’d never think it could be merely rock like the earth’s common rock and lifeless, merely reflected light from an invisible sun and not a powerful living light of its own...”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “You need so much energy and encouragement to write that if someone says something negative, some of that energy goes.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Nothing comes of so many things, if you have patience.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “You learned how if a thing is not spoken of, even those closest to you, who love you, will assume that it doesn’t exist.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “It was a very American story, somehow. ‘Lost.’ Each community had such stories. Possibly, each family.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “While Annabel possessed the sylphid grace of a fairy-tale princess, unstudied and seemingly spontaneous, yet with a dreamy air, Willy presented a dramatic contrast: brash, brusque, heavy-jawed, with eyes that engaged too directly, and too often ironically. Willy’s considerable charm was at first obscured, to the superficial eye, by a certain stolidity in her figure, as in her character.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “My self is all to me. I don’t have any need of you.”
Joyce Carol Oates Quote: “Ideas brush past fleeting and insubstantial as moths. But I let them go, I don’t want them. What I want is a voice.”
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