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Margaret Atwood Quotes (276 Quotes)


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  • 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. I can pick up where I left off.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don't let the bastards grind you down.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • These days I script whole fights, in my head, and the reconciliations afterwards, too.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • Don't let the bastards grind you down.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • I´ll take care of it, Luke said. And because he said it instead of her, I knew it meant kill. That is what you have to do before you kill, I thought. You have to create an it, where none was before. You do that first, in your head, and then you make it real. So that´s how they do it, I thought. I seemed never to have known that before.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")


  • Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you'd be boiled to death before you knew it.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • These things you did were like prayers; you did them and you hoped they would save you. And for the most part they did. Or something did; you could tell by the fact that you were still alive.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • Faith is only a word, embroidered.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • If I thought this would never happen again I would die. But this is wrong, nobody dies from lack of sex. It's lack of love we die from.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • On these occasions I read quickly, voraciously, almost skimming, trying to get as much into my head as possible before the next long starvation. If it were eating it would be gluttony of the famished; if it were sex it would be a swift furtive stand-up in an alley somewhere.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • They seemed to be able to choose. We seemed to be able to choose, then. We were a society dying of too much choice.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • Fatigue is here, in my body, in my legs and eyes. That is what gets you in the end. Faith is only a word, embroidered.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • If you worked out enough, maybe the man would too. Maybe you would be able to work it out together, as if the two of you were a puzzle that could be solved; otherwise, one of you, most likely the man, taking his addictive body with him and leaving you with bad withdrawal, which you could counteract by exercise. If you didn't work it out it was because one of you had the wrong attitude.
    (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")

  • To want is to have a weakness.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")


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