11 Inspiring Quotes From Orange Is The New Black You Need To Read If You Want To Know What Prison Is Like






Although it is a memoire, I enjoyed it endlessly, as much as I enjoy the great stories writers are telling. As I was reading, I often got the momentary feeling that I’m in a prison, the story was so captivating I enjoyed each chapter of it. This book, in my opinion, made the stay in Danbury worth every second of it for Piper. I’m sure that what she learned, what she did there and most importantly this book, through which she gave us a chance to relive the experience she has been through, has made the time spend in Danbury a useful time. Below are some quotes I loved most from “Orange is the new black” by “Piper Kerman”:



1- “Do your time, don’t let the time do you.”

Piper Kerman - Orange is the new black



2- “On the other hand, some people were way too comfortable in prison. They seemed to have forgotten the world that exists on the outside. You try to adjust and acclimate, yet remain ready to go home every single day. It’s not easy to do. The truth is, the prison and its residents fill your thoughts, and it’s hard to remember what it’s like to be free, even after a few short months.”

Piper Kerman - Orange is the new black



3- “I knew that I would have to be brave. Not foolhardy, not in love with risk and danger, not making ridiculous exhibitions of myself to prove that I wasn't terrified--really genuinely brave. Brave enough to be quiet when quiet was called for, brave enough to observe before flinging myself into something, brave enough to not abandon my true self when someone else wanted to seduce or force me in a direction I didn't want to go, brave enough to stand my ground quietly.”

Piper Kerman - Orange is the new black







4- “Every human being makes mistakes and does things they’re not proud of. They can be everyday, or they can be catastrophic. And the unfortunate truth of being human is that we all have moments of indifference to other people’s suffering. To me, that’s the central thing that allows crime to happen: indifference to other people’s suffering. If you’re stealing from someone, if you’re hurting them physically, if you’re selling them a product that you know will hurt them—the thing that allows a person to do that is that they somehow convince themselves that that’s not relevant to them. We all do things that we’re not proud of, even though they might not have as terrible consequences.”

Piper Kerman - Orange is the new black



5- “Prison is quite literally a ghetto in the most classic sense of the world, a place where the U.S. government now puts not only the dangerous but also the inconvenient—people who are mentally ill, people who are addicts, people who are poor and uneducated and unskilled.”

Piper Kerman - Orange is the new black



6- “Nothing about the daily workings of the prison system focuses its inhabitants’ attention on what life back on the outside, as a free citizen, will be like. The life of the institution dominates everything. This is one of the awful truths of incarceration, the fact that the horror and the struggle and the interest of your immediate life behind prison walls drives the “real world” out of your head. That makes returning to the outside difficult for many prisoners.”


Piper Kerman - Orange is the new black



7- “IF YOU are a relatively small woman, and a man at least twice your size is bellowing at you in anger, and you’re wearing a prisoner’s uniform, and he has a pair of handcuffs on his belt, I don’t care how much of a badass you think you are, you’ll be fucking scared”

Piper Kerman - Orange is the new black



8- “I had learned to hasten the days by chasing the enjoyment in them, no matter how elusive. Some people on the outside look for what is amiss in every interaction, every relationship, and every meal; they are always trying to hang their mortality on improvement. It was incredibly liberating to instead tackle the trick of making each day fly more quickly. "Time, be my friend," I repeated every day.”

Piper Kerman - Orange is the new black





9- “The formal relationship, enforced by the institution, is that one person’s word means everything and the other’s means almost nothing; one person can command the other to do just about anything, and refusal can result in total physical restraint.”


Piper Kerman - Orange is the new black





10- “It was more the idea that my intimate moments—changing clothes, lying in bed, reading, crying—were all in fact public, available for observation by these strange men.”

Piper Kerman - Orange is the new black





11- “AS A child, a teen, a young adult, I developed a firm belief in my solitude, the not-novel concept that we are each alone in the world. Some parts self-reliance, some parts selfprotection, this belief offers a binary perspective— powerhouse or victim, complete responsibility or total divorcement, all in or out the door.

Carried to its extreme, the idea gives license to the belief that one’s own actions do not matter much; we traverse the world in our own bubbles, occasionally breaking through to one another but largely and ultimately alone. I would seem to have been ready-made for prison time then, as a familiar jailhouse trope says “you come in alone and you walk out alone,” and common counsel is to keep to oneself and mind your own business. But that’s not what I learned in prison. That’s not how I survived prison. What I discovered was that I am emphatically not alone. The people on the outside who wrote and visited every week and traveled long distances to come and tell me that I wasn’t forgotten, that I wasn’t alone, had a tremendous impact on my life.


However, most of all, I realized that I was not alone in the world because of the women I lived with for over a year, who gave me a dawning recognition of what I shared with them. We shared overcrowded Dorms and lack of privacy. We shared eight numbers instead of names, prison khakis, cheap food and hygiene items. Most important, we shared a deep reserve of humor, creativity in adverse circumstances, and the will to protect and maintain our own humanity despite the prison system’s imperative to crush it.


I don’t think any of us could have managed those survival techniques alone; I know I couldn’t—we needed each other. Small kindnesses and simple pleasures shared were so important, whether given or received, regardless of what quarter they came from, that they brought home to me powerfully that I was not alone in this world, in this life. I shared the most basic operating system with people who ostensibly had little in common with me. I could connect—perhaps with anyone.


Now here, in my third prison, I perceived an odd truth that held for each: no one ran them. Of course, somewhere in those buildings, some person with a nameplate on their desk or door was called the warden and nominally ran the place, and below them in the food chain there were captains and lieutenants. But for all practical purposes, for the prisoners, the people who lived in those prisons day in and day out, the captain’s chair was vacant, and the wheel was spinning while the sails flapped. The institutions putzed along with the absolute minimum of staff presence, and the staff that were there invariably seemed less than interested in their jobs. No one was present, interacting in any affirmative way with the people who filled those prisons.


The leadership vacuum was total. No one who worked in “corrections” appeared to give any thought to the purpose of our being there, any more than a warehouse clerk would consider the meaning of a can of tomatoes, or try to help those tomatoes understand what the hell they were doing on the shelf. Great institutions have leaders who are proud of what they do, and who engage with everyone who makes up those institutions, so each person understands their role. But our jailers are generally granted near-total anonymity, like the cartoon executioner who wears a hood to conceal his identity. What is the point, what is the reason, to lock people away for years, when it seems to mean so very little, even to the jailers who hold the key?


How can a prisoner understand their punishment to have been worthwhile to anyone, when it’s dealt in a way so offhand and indifferent?”


Piper Kerman - Orange is the new black



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1 comment:

  1. I have only watched the show but love it so much! These are great quotes and really make you feel like what it's like to be in the prison. I love the one about the government putting the people who are the most "inconvenient" to them in there. Interesting thought because it is true.

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