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Margaret Atwood Quotes (276 Quotes)


  • Don't let the bastards grind you down.
    (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")

  • I marvel again at the nakedness of men's lives: the showers right out in the open, the body exposed for inspection and comparison, the public display of privates. What is it for? What purposes of reassurance does it serve? The flashing of a badge, look, everyone, all is in order, I belong here. Why don't women have to prove to one another that they are women? Some form of unbuttoning, some split-crotch routine, just as casual. A doglike sniffing.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • 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.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • It's his word against the Commander's, unless he wants to head a posse. Kick in the door, and what did I tell you? Caught in the act, sinfully Scrabbling. Quick, eat those words.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")


  • We lived, as usual by ignoring. Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • Faith is only a word, embroidered.
    (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")

  • I stand on the corner, pretending I am a tree.
    (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.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • It's impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because of what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out, there are too many parts, sides, crosscurrents, nuances; too many gestures, which could mean this or that, too many shapes which can never be fully described, too many flavors, in the air or on the tongue, half-colors, too many.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")

  • We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.
    (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")

  • 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 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.
    (Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale")


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