30 Quotes from The Handmaid's Tale book by Margaret Atwood

Hello friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

The Handmaid's Tale has been described as a sly and beautifully crafted story about the fate of an ordinary woman caught off guard by extraordinary events.

Quotes

I know why there is no glass, in front of the watercolour picture of blue irises, and why the window only opens partly and why the glass in it is shatterproof. 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. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 2

I hunger to touch something, other than cloth or wood. I hunger to commit the act of touch. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 2

This woman has been my partner for two weeks. I don't know what happened to the one before. On a certain day she simply wasn't there any more, and this one was there in her place. It isn't the sort of thing you ask questions about, because the answers are not usually answers you want to know. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 4

As we walk away I know they're watching, these two men who aren't yet permitted to touch women. They touch with their eyes instead and I move my hips a little, feeling the full red skirt sway around me. It's like thumbing your nose from behind a fence or teasing a dog with a bone held out of reach, and I'm ashamed of myself for doing it, because none of this is the fault of these men, they're too young. Then I find I'm not ashamed after all. I enjoy the power; power of a dog bone, passive but there. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 4

There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 5

Modesty is invisibility, said Aunt Lydia. Never forget it. To be seen – to be seen – is to be – her voice trembled – penetrated. What you must be, girls, is impenetrable. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 5

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. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 6

The night is mine, my own time, to do with as I will, as long as I am quiet. As long as I don't move. As long as I lie still. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 7

It's not the husbands you have to watch out for, said Aunt Lydia, it's the Wives. You should always try to imagine what they must be feeling. Of course they will resent you. It is only natural. Try to feel for them. [...] Try to pity them. Forgive them, for they know not what they do. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 8

I've learned to do without a lot of things. If you have a lot of things, said Aunt Lydia, you get too attached to this material world and you forget about spiritual values. You must cultivate poverty of spirit. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 12

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. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 14

The Bible is kept locked up, the way people once kept tea locked up, so the servants wouldn't steal it. It is an incendiary device: who knows what we'd make of it, if we ever got our hands on it? We can be read to from it, but we cannot read. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 15

There's no longer any hand lotion or face cream, not for us. Such things are considered vanities. We are containers, it's only the insides of our bodies that are important. The outside can become hard and wrinkled, for all they care, like the shell of a nut. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 17

I want to be held and told my name. I want to be valued, in ways that I am not; I want to be more than valuable. I repeat my former name, remind myself of what I once could do, how others saw me. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 17

Nobody dies from lack of sex. It's lack of love we die from. There’s nobody here I can love, all the people I could love are dead or elsewhere. Who knows where they are or what their names are now? They might as well be nowhere, as I am for them. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 18

I am like a room where things once happened and now nothing does, except the pollen of the weeds that grow up outside the window, blowing in as dust across the floor. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 18

The body is so easily damaged, so easily disposed of, water and chemicals is all it is, hardly more to it than a jellyfish, drying on sand. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 18

Sanity is a valuable possession; I hoard it the way people once hoarded money. I save it, so I will have enough, when the time comes. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 19

A man is just a woman's strategy for making other women. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 20

Remember that forgiveness too is a power. To beg for it is a power, and to withhold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 23

We are for breeding purposes: we aren't concubines, geisha girls, courtesans. [...] We are two-legged wombs, that's all: sacred vessels, ambulatory chalices. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 23

I feel like cotton candy: sugar and air. Squeeze me and I'd turn into a small sickly damp wad of weeping pinky-red. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 23

Men are sex machines, and not much more. They only want one thing. You must learn to manipulate them, for your own good. Lead them around by the nose. It's nature's way. It's God's device. It's the way things are. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 24

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 badly by one another, we did as well as most. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 26

You can't help what you feel, but you can help how you behave. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 30

The moment of betrayal is the worst, the moment when you know beyond any doubt that you've been betrayed: that some other human being has wished you that much evil. It was like being in an elevator cut loose at the top. Falling, falling, and not knowing when you will hit. - The Handmaid's Tail, Chapter 30

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. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 32

Nature demands variety, for men. It stands to reason, it's part of the procreational strategy. It's Nature's plan. Women know that instinctively. Why did they buy so many different clothes, in the old days? To trick the men into thinking they were several different women. A new one each day. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 37

Humanity is so adaptable, my mother would say. Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations. - The Handmaid's Tale, Chapter 41

As all historians know, the past is a great darkness, and filled with echoes. Voices may reach us from it; but what they say to us is imbued with the obscurity of the matrix out of which they come; and, try as we may, we cannot always decipher them precisely in the clearer light of our own day. - The Handmaid's Tale, Historical Notes

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