Although it was just recent that I have read Margaret Atwood’s modern classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, it has already made its mark in me. It is one of my all time favorites. Its interesting story line and powerful story-telling make up for a worth while reading. Moreover, it is a well of quotable lines. Here are some of the best quotes from this award-winning work.

If you haven’t read my review of The Handmaid’s Tale yet, please click here.


“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. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale


“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.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale


“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.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale


“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. I want to steal something.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale


“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


“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


“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 completely.” ~ 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


“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


“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.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale


“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


“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