The Handmaid S Tale Quotes

Quotes tagged as "the-handmaid-s-tale" Showing 1-15 of 15
Margaret Atwood
“How were we to know we were happy?”
Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood
“The way love feels is always only approximate. I would like to be without shame. I would like to be shameless. I would like to be ignorant. Then I would not know how ignorant I was.”
Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood
“The tulips along the border are redder than ever, opening, no longer wine cups but chalices; thrusting themselves up, to what end? They are, after all, empty. When they are old they turn themselves inside out, explode slowly, the petals thrown like shards.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood
“I was nervous. How was I to know he loved me? It might be just an affair. Why did we ever say just? Though at that time men and women tried each other on, casually, like suits, rejecting whatever did not fit.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood
“On the top of my desk there are initials, carved into the wood, and dates...This carving, done with a pencil dug many times into the warn varnish of the desk, has the pathos of all vanished civilizations. It's like a handprint on stone. Whoever made this was once alive.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood
“I know why there is no glass, in front of the watercolor picture of blue irises, and why the window opens only partly and why the glass in it is shatter-proof. 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

Margaret Atwood
“But I keep on going with this sad and hungry and sordid, this limping and mutilated story, because after all I want you to hear it, as I will hear yours too if I ever get the chance, if I meet you or if you escape, in the future or in heaven or in prison or underground, some other place. What they have in common is that they’re not here. By telling you anything at all I’m at least believing in you, I believe you’re there, I believe you into being. Because I’m telling you this story I will your existence. I tell, therefore you are.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood
“Possible, impossible. What could be done? We thought we had such problems. How were we to know we were happy?”
Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood
“I want anything that breaks the monotony, subverts the perceived respectable order of things.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood
“I find the entrance to the women's washroom...There's a rest area, gently lit in pinkish tones, with several easy chairs and a sofa, in a lime-green bamboo-shoot print, with a wall clock above it in a gold filigree frame. Here they haven't removed the mirror, there's a long one opposite the sofa. You need to know, here, what you look like.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood
“Better? I say, in a small voice. How can he think this is better?

Better never means better for everyone, he says. It always means worse, for some.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood
“The summer dresses are unpacked and hanging in the closet, two of them, pure cotton, which is better than synthetics like the cheaper ones, though even so, when it's muggy, in July and August, you sweat inside them. No worry about sunburn though, said Aunt Lydia. The spectacles women used to make of themselves. Oiling themselves like roast meat on a spit, and bare backs and shoulders, on the street, in public, and legs, not even stockings on them, no wonder those things used to happen. [...] And not good for the complexion, not at all, wrinkle you up like a dried apple. But we weren't supposed to care about our complexions any more, she'd forgotten that.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood
“We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.

Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you'd be boiled to death before you knew it.

There were stories in the newspapers, of course, corpses in ditches or the woods, bludgeoned to death or mutilated, interfered with, as they used to say, but they were about other women, and the men who did such things were other men. None of them were the men we knew.

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

Margaret Atwood
“I have enough daily bread, so I won't waste time on that. It isn't the main problem. The problem is getting it down without choking on it.

Now we come to forgiveness. Don't worry about forgiving me right now. There are more important things. For instance: keep the others safe, if they are safe.

Don't let them suffer too much. If they have to die, let it be fast. You might even provide a Heaven for them. We need You for that. Hell we can make for ourselves.”
Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood
“Bytelling you anything at
all I’m at least believing in you, I
believe you’re there, I believe you
into being. Because I’m telling
you this story I will your
existence. I tell, therefore you
are.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale