"We women are always in danger of living too exclusively in the affections; and though our affections are perhaps the best gifts we have, we ought also to have our share of the more independent life -- some joy in things for their own sake. It is piteous to see the helplessness of some sweet women when their affections are disappointed -- because all their teaching has been, that they can only delight in study of any kind for the sake of a personal love. They have never contemplated an independent delight in ideas as an experience which they could confess without being laughed at. Yet surely women need this defense against passionate affliction even more than men."
"The chief thing about a woman -- who is much of a woman -- is that in the long run she is not to be had... She is not to be caught by any of the catch-words, love, beauty, honor, duty, worth, work, salvation -- none of them -- not in the long run. In the long run she only says Am I satisfied, or is there some beastly dissatisfaction gnawing and gnawing inside me. And if there is some dissatisfaction, it is physical, at least as much as psychic, sex as much as soul."
"Coming to terms with the rhythms of women's lives means coming to terms with life itself, accepting the imperatives of the body rather than the imperatives of an artificial, man-made, perhaps transcendentally beautiful civilization. Emphasis on the male work-rhythm is an emphasis on infinite possibilities; emphasis on the female rhythms is an emphasis on a defined pattern, on limitation."
"A woman cannot do the thing she ought, which means whatever perfect thing she can, in life, in art, in science, but she fears to let the perfect action take her part and rest there: she must prove what she can do before she does it, -- prate of woman's rights, of woman's mission, woman's function, till the men (who are prating, too, on their side) cry, A woman's function plainly is... to talk. Poor souls, they are very reasonably vexed!"