Good afternoon everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely day! In today’s post, I am going to be sharing some of my favourite quotes from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and her more recent book, The Testaments.
I think dystopian fiction can have some really poignant quotes that make us think about the stark differences in our lives compared to those that unfold on the pages. How can such truth come from something so twisted, so horrible and depraving of life the way it is?
But it does. Here are some quotes from each of the books that have stuck with me the most: –
The Handmaid’s Tale
“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”
Really true though, isn’t it?
“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
“Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.”
Someone always falls victim to change; it all depends on how loudly the oppressed can shout as to whether anything happens as a result.
“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.”
Yet the problem here, Aunt Lydia… is the distinct lack of freedom for these Handmaids to choose.
“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.”
… Sound familiar, my English friends?
“As they say, history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.”
True – history never pans out exactly the same for we delude ourselves that we learn from our past. That doesn’t mean we avoid making the same mistakes, however.
“But it can put a lot of pressure on a person to be told they need to be strong.”
Especially in times where you are out of control and vulnerable.
“The corrupt and blood-smeared fingerprints of the past must be wiped away to create a clean space for the morally pure generation that is surely about to arrive. Such is the theory.”
Raising children, particularly girls, to be treated as glorified brood mares in service to their husbands justifies this?
“Our time together is drawing short, my reader. Possibly you will view these pages of mine as a fragile treasure box, to be opened with the utmost care. Possibly you will tear them apart, or burn them: that often happens to words.”
I like this quote for the way it addresses the reader. It pulls the reader into the story.
“Such regrets are of no practical use. I made choices, and then, having made them, I had fewer choices. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one most travelled by. It was littered with corpses, as such roads are. But as you will have noticed, my own corpse is not among them.”
Sometimes blending in to bide your time is the only way to make a difference. Let them underestimate you.
Have you read The Handmaid’s Tale or The Testaments? Do you have a favourite quote you would like to share?