The Handmaid's Tale Quotes

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The Handmaid's Tale The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
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The Handmaid's Tale Quotes (showing 31-60 of 916)
“It isn't running away they're afraid of. We wouldn't get far. It's those other escapes, the ones you can open in yourself, given a cutting edge.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“You can't help what you feel, but you can help how you behave”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“They wore blouses with buttons down the front that suggested the possibilities of the word undone. These women could be undone; or not. They seemed to be able to choose. ”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn't even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn't even an enemy you could put your finger on.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“To want is to have a weakness.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“I feel like cotton candy: sugar and air. Squeeze me and I’d turn into a small sickly damp wad of weeping pinky-red.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“Modesty is invisibility...Never forget it. To be seen—to be seen—is to be...penetrated. What you must be girls, is impenetrable.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you'd be boiled to death before you knew it.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“Faith is only a word, embroidered.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“One and one and one and one doesn't equal four. Each one remains unique, there is no way of joining them together. They cannot be exchanged, one for the other. They cannot replace each other.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“You can wet the rim of a glass and run your finger around the rim and it will make a sound. This is what I feel like: this sound of glass. I feel like the word shatter. I want to be with someone.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“As all historians know, the past is a great darkness, and filled with echoes.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“We lived, as usual by ignoring. Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“My name isn't Offred, I have another name, which nobody uses now because it's forbidden. I tell myself it doesn't matter, your name is like your telephone number, useful only to others; but what I tell myself is wrong, it does matter. I keep the knowledge of this name like something hidden, some treasure I'll come back to dig up, one day. I think of this name as buried. This name has an aura around it, like an amulet, some charm that's survived from an unimaginably distant past. I lie in my single bed at night, with my eyes closed, and the name floats there behind my eyes, not quite within reach, shining in the dark.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it really isn't about who can own whom, who can do what to whom and get away with it, even as far as death. Maybe it isn't about who can sit and who has to kneel or stand or lie down, legs spread open. Maybe it's about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it. Never tell me it amounts to the same thing.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“Sometimes she would cry. I was so lonely, she'd say. You have no idea how lonely I was. And I had friends, I was a lucky one, but I was lonely anyway.
I admired my mother in some ways, although things between us were never easy. She expected too much from me, I felt. She expected me to vindicate her life for her, and the choices she'd made. I didn't want to live my life on her terms. I didn't want to be the model offspring, the incarnation of her ideas. We used to fight about that. I am not your justification for existence, I said her to once.
I want her back. I want everything back, the way it was. But there is no point to it, this wanting.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“Waste not want not. I am not being wasted. Why do I want?”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“There is something powerful in the whispering of obscenities, about those in power. There's something delightful about it, something naughty, secretive, forbidden, thrilling. It's like a spell, of sorts. It deflates them, reduces them to the common denominator where they can be dealt with.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“Neither of us says the word love, not once. It would be tempting fate; it would be romance, bad luck.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“I avoid looking down at my body, not so much because it’s shameful or immodest but because I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to look at something that determines me so completely.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“Sanity is a valuable possesion; I hoard it the way people once hoarded money. I save it, so I will have enough, when the time comes.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“The night is mine, my own time, to do with it as I will, as long as I am quiet. As long as I don't move. As long as I lie still. The difference between lie and lay. Lay is always passive.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“How easy it is to invent a humanity, for anyone at all.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“I stand on the corner, pretending I am a tree. ”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“No mother is ever, completely, a child's idea of what a mother should be, and I suppose it works the other way around as well. But despite everything, we didn't do too badly by one another, we did as well as most.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“The newspaper stories were like dreams to us, bad dreams dreamt by others. How awful, we would say, and they were, but they were awful without being believable. They were too melodramatic, they had a dimension that was not the dimension of our lives. We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“Can I be blamed for wanting a real body, to put my arms around? Without it I too am disembodied. I can listen to my own heartbeat against the bedsprings...but there’s something dead about it, something deserted.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“Ordinary, said Aunt Lydia, is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
“Fatigue is here, in my body, in my legs and eyes. That is what gets you in the end. Faith is only a word, embroidered.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

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