30 Important 'The Handmaid's Tale' Quotes By Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood 'The Handmaid's Tale' quotes are revolutionary.

Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale' had created a giant ripple in the history of literature.

It is a dystopian novel about the United States of America being turned into a military dictatorship with extreme limitations on the rights of people especially, that of women. The book however was banned because of claims of being explicit and violent and corrupt morally.

There are two books from 'The Handmaid's Tale' series with 'The Testaments' being the sequel to the first novel. Here's a fascinating list of some of the most moving quotes from the novel. The book has something to help us understand the oppression of women, work out how this dystopian novel relates to our past and present.

If you like our content, you can check out other articles like, [Margaret Atwood quotes] and ['The Book Thief' quotes].

Important Quotes From 'The Handmaid's Tale' Book

'The Handmaid's Tale' quotes will tug at your heartstrings.

Here is a list of some of 'The Handmaid's Tale' book quotes that will move you.

1. "Knowing was a temptation. What you don't know won't tempt you."

-Aunt Lydia, chapter 30.

2. "There is more than one kind of freedom. 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."

-Aunt Lydia, chapter three.

3. "Better never means better for everyone... It always means worse, for some."

-Commander, chapter 32.

4. "Ordinary is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary."

-Aunt Lydia, chapter six.

5. "It's not the husbands you have to watch out for, 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."

-Aunt Lydia, chapter eight.

6. "As for my husband, she said, he's just husband. I want that to be perfectly clear. Till death do us part."

-Commander's wife, chapter three.

Offred Quotes

Offred, the main character of the first novel has many important quotes in the book.

'The Handmaid's Tale' novel is centered on the protagonist, Offred's, journey as a handmaid. Here is a list of some quotes by her from the book.

7. "I once had a garden. I can remember the smell of the turned earth, the plump shapes of bulbs held in the hands, fullness, the dry rustle of seeds through the fingers."

-Chapter three.

8. "But people will do anything rather than admit that their lives have no meaning. No use, that is. No plot."

-Chapter 33.

9. "What I need is perspective. The illusion of depth, created by a frame, the arrangement of shapes on a flat surface."

-Chapter 24.

10. "I used to think of my body as an instrument, of pleasure, or a means of transportation, or an implement for the accomplishment of my will . . . Now the flesh arranges itself differently. I'm a cloud, congealed around a central object, the shape of a pear, which is hard and more real than I am and glows red within its translucent wrapping."

-Chapter 13.

11. "A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze."

-Chapter 27.

12. "When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that."

-Chapter six.

13. "But who can remember pain, once it's over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh."

-Chapter 21.

14. "Live in the present, make the most of it, it's all you've got."

-Chapter 24.

15. "Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind."

-Chapter 21.

16. "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."

-Chapter 30.

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

-Chapter 10.

18. "You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself."

-Chapter 26.

19. "Is that how we lived, then? But we lived as usual. Everyone does, most of the time. Whatever is going on is as usual. Even this is as usual, now."

-Chapter 10.

20. "We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories."

-Chapter 10.

21. "Aunt Lydia said it was best not to speak unless they asked you a direct question. Try to think of it from their point of view she said, her hands clasped and wrung together, her nervous pleading smile."

-Chapter three.

22. "We thought we had such problems. How were we to know we were happy?"

-Chapter nine.

23. "He was not a monster, to her. Probably he had some endearing trait; he whistled, off key, in the shower, he had a yen for truffles, he called his dog Liebchen and made it sit up for little pieces of raw steak. How easy it is to invent a humanity, for anyone at all. What an available temptation."

-Chapter 24.

24. "You can't help what you feel, but you can help how you behave."

-Chapter 30.

25. "We learned to lip-read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other's mouths. In this way we exchanged names from bed to bed: Alma, Janine, Dolores, Moira, June."

-Chapter three.

26. "But 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."

-Chapter 23.

27. "I would like to believe this is a story I'm telling...I need to believe it...I must believe it. Those who can believe that such stories are only stories have a better chance....if it's a story I'm telling, then I have control over the ending. Then there will be an ending, to the story, and real-life will come after it."

-Chapter seven.

28. "I am not your justification for existence."

-Chapter 20.

29. "But 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."

-Chapter 22.

30. "Perspective is necessary, otherwise there are only two dimensions. Otherwise, you live with your face squashed up against a wall, everything a huge foreground, of details, close-ups, hairs, the weave of the bedsheet, the molecules of the face...otherwise, you live in the moment. Which is not where I want to be."

-Chapter 24.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'The Handmaid's Tale' quotes then why not take a look at ['Lord Of The Flies' quotes], or ['Fahrenheit 451' quotes].


Written By

Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

Share this article




Get The Kidadl Newsletter
1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.