15 Haunting Quotes From Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood was originally published in 1985, and got a movie adaptation in 1990 starring the late Natasha Richardson. The movie didn’t receive much acclaim, but Hulu has created an original mini-series that is once again bringing the dystopian story to life. Both adaptations manage to capture the stark difference between the wives, who wear blue, and the handmaids, who wear red. Both adaptations manage to show the brutal government, dressed in all black and lurking in every corner, hoping to catch wrong-doers. There are a lot of people making connections to the world of this dystopia and the current political climate. I wouldn’t go so far as that, but I would say the story serves as a haunting warning about what can happen when people become complacent about the actions of their own government. Hopefully, the following 15 quotes will remind you to stay awake and always fight the good fight.


1.“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”

handmaids tale quotes

Source: The Verge

2.“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.”

3. “Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.”

handmaids tale quotes

Source: The Alignist

4. “When we think of the past it’s the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.”

handmaids tale quotes

Source: Refinery 29

5.“A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze.”

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Source: A.V. Club

6. “‘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.'”

7. “Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it isn’t really about who can own whom, who can do what to whom and get away with it, even as far as death.”

handmaids tale quotes

Source: SBS

8. “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.”

handmaids tale quotes

Source: Signature

9. “I am not your justification for existence.”

handmaids tale quotes

Source: The Atlantic

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

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Source: Crixeo

11. “All you have to do, I tell myself, is keep your mouth shut and look stupid. It shouldn’t be that hard.”

handmaids tale quotes

Source: IMDb

12. “Maybe the life I think I’m living is a paranoid delusion…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.”

handmaids tale quotes

Source: People

13. “Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations.”

handmaids tale quotes

Source: IMBd

14. “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.”

handmaids tale quotes

Source: IMBd

15. “I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.”

handmaids tale quotes

Source: FlavorWire

What quote haunts you the most?

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Featured image via IMDB