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Anger

  • ... all his life Toselli's smile had been stretched across his rage, like a tight-rope spanning a chasm ...

  • ... 'grumbling' was a highly inadequate word to describe the blazing opposition that lighted Pat like a torch. He throbbed with it, like a car at rest with the engine running.

  • Anger is the quintessential individual-signature emotion: I am what makes me mad.

  • Interestingly, anger and lust are also elusive states once they have passed. Trying to recall why you were angry about something when you've calmed down is like trying to remember why you were in love with someone who no longer attracts you: the initial impulse triggering the emotion is impossible to recapture.

  • Anger can offer a sense of indignity to replace a sense of shame, and offer a voice—raised above others—which can finally be heard. Those voices are most effective when they are raised in unison, when they have mercy as well as anger behind them, and when, instead of roaring at the anger of old pain, they sing about the glorious possibilities of a future where anger has a smaller house than hope.

  • ... move not in your anger; it is like putting to sea in a tempest.

  • ... grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear.

  • Anger and jealousy can no more bear to lose sight of their objects than love.

  • A man out of temper does not wait for proofs before feeling toward all things, animate and inanimate, as if they were in a conspiracy against him, but at once thrashes his horse or kicks his dog in consequence.

  • The anger of slow, mild, loving people has a lasting quality that mere bad-tempered folk cannot understand.

  • ... anger as well as love casts out fear ...

  • I was so mad you could have boiled a pot of water on my head.

  • ... anger is like milk, it should not be kept too long.

  • Outrage, combining as it does shock, anger, reproach, and helplessness, is perhaps the most unmanageable, the most demoralizing of all the emotions.

  • When the habitually even-tempered suddenly fly into a passion, that explosion is apt to be more impressive than the outburst of the most violent amongst us.

  • Beware of anger. It is the most difficult to remove of all the hindrances. But it is the alcohol of the body, you know, and the devil of it is that it deadens the perceptions.

  • His temper was so short that there never was an inch of it to spare.

  • The devil-ache of loneliness seldom deserts the bones of the angry.

  • Reason finds it difficult to take root in the arid soil of wrath.

  • I have sometimes wondered also whether in people like me who come to the boil fast (soupe au lait, the French call this trait, like a milk soup that boils over) the tantrum is not a built-in safety valve against madness or illness. ... The fierce tension in me, when it is properly channeled, creates the good tension for work. But when it becomes unbalanced I am destructive. How to isolate that good tension is my problem these days. Or, put in another way, how to turn the heat down fast enough so the soup won't boil over!

  • My fear of anger taught me nothing.

    • Audre Lorde,
    • "The Uses of Anger," speech (1981), Sister Outsider ()
  • Anger is loaded with information and energy.

    • Audre Lorde,
    • "The Uses of Anger," speech (1981), Sister Outsider ()
  • Hatred is the fury of those who do not share our goals, and its object is death and destruction. Anger is a grief of distortions between peers, and its object is change.

    • Audre Lorde,
    • "The Uses of Anger," speech (1981), Sister Outsider ()
  • Anger is an appropriate reaction to racist attitudes, as is fury when the actions arising from those attitudes do not change.

    • Audre Lorde,
    • "The Uses of Anger," speech (1981), Sister Outsider ()
  • I have suckled the wolf's lip of anger and I have used it for illumination, laughter, protection, fire in places where there was no light, no food, no sisters, no quarter.

    • Audre Lorde,
    • "The Uses of Anger," speech (1981), Sister Outsider ()
  • Rage is by no means an automatic reaction to misery and suffering as such; no one reacts with rage to an incurable disease or to an earthquake or, for that matter, to social conditions that seem to be unchangeable. Only where there is reason to suspect that conditions could be changed and are not does rage arise.

  • There are so many roots to the tree of anger / that sometimes the branches shatter / before they bear.

    • Audre Lorde,
    • "Who Said It Was Simple" (1970), Undersong ()
  • I don't know if fury can compete with necessity as the mother of invention, but I recommend it.

  • Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • to Sir Edward Dyer, in Francis Bacon, Apophthegms ()
  • [When opposed by leaders of her Council:] I will make you shorter by the head!

    • Elizabeth I,
    • in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • Thine is an oyster knife that hacks and hews — / The rage but not the talent to abuse.

    • Lady Mary Wortley Montagu,
    • "Verses Address'd to the Imitator of Horace" (1733), The Works of the Right Honorable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, vol. 5 ()
  • There is no sin nor wrong that gives a man such a foretaste of hell in this life as anger and impatience.

    • Catherine of Siena,
    • 1374, in Vida D. Scudder, ed., St. Catherine of Siena As Seen in Her Letters ()
  • Angry people are not always wise.

  • ... anger and jealousy are spasms of the nerves, not of the heart.

  • Shouting has never made me understand anything.

  • Anger is protest.

  • Anger can give energy to the mind but only if it is harnessed and held in control.

  • ... we can surmount the anger we feel. To find oneself like a young tree inside a tomb is to discover the power to crack the tomb and grow up to any height.

  • Anger is the common refuge of insignificance. People who feel their character to be slight, hope to give it weight by inflation: but the blown bladder at its fullest distention is still empty.

    • Hannah More,
    • "On the Comparatively Small Faults and Virtues," Practical Piety ()
  • Anger and tenderness: my selves. / And now I can believe they breathe in me / as angels, not polarities. / Anger and tenderness: the spider's genius / to spin and weave in the same action / from her own body, anywhere — / even from a broken web.

    • Adrienne Rich,
    • "Integrity," A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far ()
  • There is no sight so ugly as the human face in anger.

  • Anger as soon as fed is dead — / 'Tis starving makes it fat — .

    • Emily Dickinson,
    • c. 1881, in Thomas H. Johnson, ed., The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson ()
  • ... he never showed his temper at all, but you couldn't be with him ten minutes without being morally certain that he had a very bad and sullen one, which he merely kept concealed for reasons of his own.

  • Even when you think people are wrong, it is easy to tell when they are right. When they are right about something you are trying very hard to hide from others and yourself, you know they are right because you want to kill them.

  • Hostility is expressed in a number of ways. One is laughter.

  • Anger was both a disfiguring and a revealing passion.

  • Being in a rage was rather like being out in a thunderstorm — you couldn't hear yourself think.

  • ... people who lost their tempers were never much more than five years old.

  • The anger she felt within her acted like yeast on bread dough. She felt its rapid rising, flowing into every last recess of her body; like yeast in a small bowl, it spilled over to the outside, escaping in the form of steam through her ears, nose, and all her pores.

  • Don't keep putting your anger off. Until you go through it, you can't get out of it.

  • Many of our problems with anger occur when we choose between having a relationship and having a self.

  • If what we are doing wth our anger is not achieving the desired result, it would seem logical to try something else.

  • Underground issues from one relationship or context invariably fuel our fires in another.

  • Anger is a signal, and one worth listening to.

  • Anger is like the blade of a butcher knife — very difficult to hold on to for long without harming yourself.

    • Patti LaBelle,
    • in Patti LaBelle and Laura Randolph Lancaster, Patti's Pearls ()
  • ... at least if I can stay mad I can stay alive.

    • Magdalena Gomez,
    • "Solo Palabras," in Faythe Turner, ed., Puerto Rican Writers at Home in the USA ()
  • I have a right to my anger, and I don't want anybody telling me I shouldn't be, that it's not nice to be, and that something's wrong with me because I get angry.

  • Don't lose your temper; use it.

  • Last night she got so vexed she wouldn't talk to him at all. She just swelled up like a toad-fish and sat and looked at the fire without cracking her teeth.

  • Rebels and dissidents challenge the complacent belief in a just world, and, as the theory would predict, they are usually denigrated for their efforts. While they are alive, they may be called 'cantankerous,' 'crazy,' 'hysterical,' 'uppity,' or 'duped.' Dead, some of them become saints and heroes, the sterling characters of history. It's a matter of proportion. One angry rebel is crazy, three is a conspiracy, 50 is a movement.

  • Then there was no end to the rage and disappointment of Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca.

  • It occurred to her that when a woman was in a huff, the things she didn't say would make a long and complete conversation.

  • Don't just get mad, try a little creative revenge ... Creative revenge ... allows you to get even — to extract some satisfactory justice — when you are wronged, but lets you do it with a sense of humor, not boiling malice.

  • This, it seemed, was one of those angry natures that feeds on grievance; nothing would madden her more than to know that what she complained of had been put right.

  • There are such people, unfortunates who have to be angry before they can feel alive. I had sometimes wondered if it were some old relic of pagan superstition, the fear of risking the jealousy and anger of the gods, that made such people afraid of even small happinesses. Or perhaps it was only that tragedy is more self-important than laughter.

  • Anger is a better weapon than tears; a burr commands more respect than a sensitive plant.

  • ... Red's temper is like the dynamite that blasts out the rocks — the hole it makes is almost always a hole that is going to be of use. A foundation can be built on it. While our tempers blow up bridges that were needed, and the excavations we make are like shellholes.

  • ... there is clearly a kind of anger that is healthy. It is the concentration of one's whole being in the determination: this must change.

  • ... I am no longer afraid of anger. I find it to be a creative, transforming force; anger is a stage I must go through if I am ever to get to what lies beyond.

  • Getting angry can sometimes be like leaping into a wonderfully responsive sports car, gunning the motor, taking off at high speed and then discovering the brakes are out of order.

  • Anger must be the energy that has not yet found its right channel.

  • I think some people cling to anger because to have been wronged makes them feel right. And they recite the horrors done to them as if they were saying a prayer inviting the gods to give them points for each wrong that they've endured. So important is it to them to confirm their rightness, that they dust off their hurts as often as they can and polish them until they gleam — feeling somehow that by so doing they have earned their keep. And they puff themselves up with their moral indignation like a child clings to a teddy bear for protection in the dark of the night. It's as if they feel that if there is a bad guy, there must also be a good guy, and the worse the other guy is the better that makes them. And like the person who needs a triumph a day to keep his angst about his own powerlessness away, the person who believes in good guys and bad guys always needs a bad guy to affirm himself.

  • Anger is a passion, so it makes people feel alive and makes them feel they matter and are in charge of their lives. So people often need to renew their anger a long time after the cause of it has died, because it is a protection against helplessness and emptiness just like howling in the night. And it makes them feel less vulnerable for a little while.

  • ... anger is more productive than fear.

  • In anger, you look ten years older.

  • Anger is its own excuse and its own reward ...

  • ... the important consideration is not your opponents, but yourself. It is bad to scream at them, not because it hurts them, they ought to be hurt, but because it hurts you. Anger is a form of recognition. It amounts to admitting that those people are important to you and that they have the power to hurt you. Actually, they haven't.

    • Ayn Rand,
    • 1950, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand ()
  • ... we often experience parental anger as a horrifying encounter with our worst selves. I never even knew I had a temper until I had children.

    • Nancy Samalin,
    • with Catherine Whitney, Love and Anger: The Parental Dilemma ()
  • Anger is a boomerang.

  • I confess that I have been more like a little young Devil than a creature for when Isabella went up the stairs to teach me religion and my multiplication and to be good and all my other lessons I stamped with my feet and threw my new hat which she made on the ground and was sulky and was dreadfuly passionate but she never whiped me but gently said Marjory go into another room and think what a great crime you are committing letting your temper git the better of you ...

    • Marjorie Fleming,
    • age 7 (1810), in Frank Sidgwick, The Complete Marjory Fleming ()
  • You have a choice. You either get afraid, or you get so afraid that you're angry. It is that anger, that rage, that saved my life, I think.

  • As an advantaged member of a disadvantaged group, I've lived my life on the rim — a dialectically privileged location that's helped keep my political awareness acute. But the main reason my art is 'political' is probably that anger is my most productive emotion.

    • Lorraine O'Grady,
    • in Arlene Raven, Cassandra Langer, Joanna Frueh, eds., Feminist Art Criticism ()
  • When one person's mad and the other isn't, the mad one always wins.

  • I always keep my temper with my enemies, and that inclines me to lose it with my friends.

  • People in a temper often say a lot of silly, terrible things they mean.

  • Rage is to writers what water is to fish.

    • Nikki Giovanni,
    • "In Sympathy With Another Motherless Child," Sacred Cows ... And Other Edibles ()
  • Anger stirs and wakes in her; it opens its mouth, and like a hot-mouthed puppy, laps up the dredges of her shame. Anger is better. There is a sense of being in anger. A reality and presence. An awareness of worth.

  • ... the reason for anger is always fear.

  • Anger is a warning signal. It points to problems.

  • ... the first step in claiming yourself is anger. You get mad. And you can't do anything before you get angry. And I recommend getting very angry to everyone, anyone.

  • ... no vows are less sincere than those made in anger.

  • ... his anger led him into what might have been a very grave folly, but when we are angry we are all foolish.

  • Anger is just a demand for change, a passionate wish for things to be different.

  • ... their anger dug out for itself a deep channel, so that future angers might more easily follow.

  • ... we wish to make rage into a fire that cooks things rather than a fire of conflagration.

  • When I feed on resentments and anger, I am giving someone else rent-free space in my head.

  • My mother used to say, 'He who angers you, conquers you!' But my mother was a saint.

  • It is anger / Turned to stone / By time and dried, / A liquid no longer.

    • Lucy Kent,
    • "Red," Footnote to the Future ()
  • When anger spreads through the breast, guard thy tongue from barking idly.

    • Sappho,
    • 6th c. BCE, in Henry Thornton Wharton, Sappho ()
  • If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart ...

  • Anger is a powerful emotion but it is not a plan.

  • When you will not fly into a passion people know you are stronger than they are, because you are strong enough to hold in your rage, and they are not, and they say stupid things they wish they hadn't said afterward. There's nothing so strong as rage, except what makes you hold it in — that's stronger. It's a good thing not to answer your enemies.

  • Anger is often what pain looks like when it shows itself in public.