The Good Terrorist Quotes


“This world is run by people who know how to do things. They know how things work. They are *equipped.* Up there, there's a layer of people who run everything. But we -- we're just peasants. We don't understand what's going on, and we can't do anything. ...You, running about playing at revolutions, playing little games, thinking you're important. You're just peasants, you'll never *do* anything.”


Pat loses faith in the group at Number 43. She becomes discouraged by the group's inability to effect change. She only wanted to make a difference, but now she adamantly believes such a thing is impossible.

“Oh, no, I'm not saying she isn't a nut -- she is -- but I've noticed before that sometimes someone like that behaves quite ordinarily with everybody, manages everything, you'd never think she was a nut, but there's just one person, with that person, she's out of control. It makes you wonder,' said Alice.”


Alice notices that Pat can be kind of a chameleon. She likes her and believes in her because she recognizes some latent potential for chaos in the girl's personality. Although most people hold an opposing opinion of Pat because she left the group, Alice understands that Pat is fighting an internal battle and that she's doing the brave thing in leaving. Under the influence of Alice, Pat cannot keep resisting her own demons, so she's left in order to make peace with herself.

“It was not a question of Philip's having 'lost hold.' He had never grasped hold. Something had not happened that should have happened: a teacher, or someone, should have said: This one, Philip Fowler, he must be a craftsman, do something small, and delicate and intricate; we must get him trained for that. Look how perfectly he does things! He can't fold a shirt or arrange some chips and a piece of fish on a plate without making a picture of it."


Alice sees that Philip is naturally talented in his work as a craftsman. And he loves doing it, but he's insecure. Having been injured by too many people in the past, he now allows others to humiliate him without cost. He's lost his will in his fate, having never quite learned to give himself the approval his role models didn't when he was younger.

“Oh, yes, Alice did know that she forgot things, but not how badly, or how often. When her mind started to dazzle and to puzzle, frantically trying to lay hold of something stable, then she always at once allowed herself -- as she did now -- to slide back into her childhood, where she dwelt pleasurably on some scene or other that she had smoothed and polished and painted over and over again with fresh colour until it was like walking into a story that began, 'Once upon a time there was a little girl called Alice, with her mother, Dorothy. One morning Alice was in the kitchen with Dorothy, who was making her favourite pudding, apple with cinnamon and brown sugar and sour cream, and little Alice said, 'Mummy, I am a good girl, aren't I?”


Alice is the most tender of mothers to herself. Because in the past she has hated herself for not being able to remember important details or to piece together arguments fast enough, she now allows herself the space to be vulnerable. She reminds herself that once she was a child who desperately needed her mom's approval in order to feel good about herself, but now she can do that for herself simply by remembering.

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