59+ Best Handmaid’s Tale Quotes: Exclusive Selection

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, published in 1985. It is set in a near-future New England, in a strongly patriarchal, quasi-Christian, totalitarian state, known as Gilead, that has overthrown the United States government. Profoundly inspirational Handmaid’s Tale quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

If you’re searching for inspirational quotes from famous books that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of significant Brave New World quotes, powerful Never Let Me Go quotes and famous Catch 22 quotes.

Famous Handmaid’s Tale Quotes

I don’t need oranges. I just need to scream. June

Don’t let the bastards grind you down. Margaret Atwood

I know this must feel so strange, but ordinary is just what you’re used to. This may not be ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. This will become ordinary. Aunt Lydia

Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it. Margaret Atwood

Trusting anyone’s dangerous. Especially a carpet munching gender traitor.  Emily

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. Margaret Atwood

I can’t stop thinking about the girl in the horror movie that goes down to the basement when the light is out. The girl who thinks her boyfriend with the perfect hair is just playing a sexy prank. Justin? Are you there? And then she descends with a stupid smile to her bloody end. The girl’s a fucking moron. June

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

Now I’m awake to the world. I was asleep before. That’s how we let it happen. When they slaughtered Congress, we didn’t wake up. When they blamed terrorists and suspended the Constitution, we didn’t wake up then either. They said it would be temporary. Nothing changes instantaneously. In a gradually heating bathtub, you’d be boiled to death before you knew it. June

Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse, for some. Margaret Atwood

It’s gonna end the same no matter what you do, so there’s no point trying to be tough or brave. Brave isn’t part of any of this. Everybody breaks. Everybody. Nick

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

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, bitches. June

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

You can wet the rim of a glass and run your finger around the rim and it will make a sound. This is what I feel like: this sound of glass. I feel like the word shatter. June

A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze. Margaret Atwood

We only wanted to make the world better. Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse for some. The Commander

Falling in love, we said; I fell for him. We were falling women. We believed in it, this downward motion so lovely, like flying, and yet at the same time so dire, so extreme, so unlikely. God is love, they once said, but we reversed that, and love, like heaven, was always just around the corner. The more difficult it was to love the particular man beside us, the more we believed in Love, abstract and total. We were waiting, always, for the incarnation. That word, made flesh. And sometimes it happened, for a time. That kind of love comes and goes and is hard to remember afterwards, like pain. You would look at the man one day and you would think, I loved you, and the tense would be past, and you would be filled with a sense of wonder,because it was such an amazing and precarious and dumb thing to have done and you would know too why your friends had been evasive about it, at the time.There is a good deal of comfort, now, in remembering this. Margaret Atwood

Every love story’s a tragedy if you wait long enough. The Commander

You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself.  Margaret Atwood

Love isn’t real. It was never anything more than lust, with a good marketing campaign. The Commander

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

Whether this is my end or a new beginning, I have no way of knowing. I have given myself over into the hands of strangers. I have no choice. It can’t be helped. And so I step up, into the darkness within. Or else the light. June

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Margaret Atwood

They can’t scare us back into the closet. Emily

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

You really want to take all that energy and passion and give it to a man? Holly

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. 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. 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

Blessed Be the Froot Loops. Erin

We thought we had such problems. How were we to know we were happy? Margaret Atwood

No mother is ever completely a child’s idea of what a mother should be. And I suppose it works the other way around as well. June

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. Margaret Atwood

Gilead took your eye. They took my clit. Now we’re cows being worked to death, and you’re dressing up the slaughterhouse for them. That is a fucking problem! Emily

What I need is perspective. The illusion of depth, created by a frame, the arrangement of shapes on a flat surface. Perspective is necessary. Otherwise there are only two dimensions. Otherwise you live with your face squashed up against a wall, everything a huge foreground, of details, close ups, hairs, the weave of the bedsheet, the molecules of the face. Your own skin like a map, a diagram of futility, criscrossed with tiny roads that lead nowhere. Otherwise you live in the moment. Which is not where I want to be. Margaret Atwood

Fuck Aunt Lydia! This place is hell! And covering it up in flowers doesn’t change anything! Emily

Night falls. Or has fallen. Why is it that night falls, instead of rising, like the dawn? Yet if you look east, at sunset, you can see night rising, not falling darkness lifting into the sky, up from the horizon, like a black sun behind cloud cover. Like smoke from an unseen fire, a line of fire just below the horizon, brushfire or a burning city. Maybe night falls because it’s heavy, a thick curtain pulled up over the eyes. Wool blanket. Margaret Atwood

Prayvaganza! Not one of the Commander’s better efforts if you ask me. Serena

I am not your justification for existence. Margaret Atwood

She may be God’s chosen vessel, but I’m surprised he wants to pass along that nose of hers. Serena

You can think clearly only with your clothes on. Margaret Atwood

I will not let you grow up in this place. I won’t do it. Do you hear me? They do not own you. And they do not own what you will become. Do you hear me? I’m gonna get you out of here. June

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

I’m wondering why such an important, brilliant man would take in such a shitty handmaid. Emily

Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations. Margaret Atwood

I think, in this place, you grab love wherever you can find it. June If it’s a story I’m telling, then I have control over the ending. But if it’s a story, even in my head, I must be telling it to someone. You don’t tell a story only to yourself. There’s always someone else. Even when there is no one.  Margaret Atwood

Your girlfriend is a badass. Rita

I feel like the word shatter. Margaret Atwood

The mouth of a woman is a deep pit. He that falls therein will suffer and find the misery of all men. All of you. Fred

You can’t help what you feel, but you can help how you behave  Margaret Atwood

Everybody’s talking about happily ever after, but there’s just after. Moira

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

There was a time when women were able to choose. We were a society dying, Aunt Lydia would say, with too much choice. We know the sacrifices you are expected to make, she’d say. It is hard when men revile you. June

Nothing changes instantaneously in a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it. Margaret Atwood

I used to think of my body as an instrument for the accomplishment of my will. I could use it run, pick things up, make things happen. There were limits, of course, but my body was nonetheless one with me. It obeyed my commands, mostly without complaint. Not anymore. Now there’s tending to be done. There’s homemade penicillin, mold scraped off rotten fruit, an old Martha recipe. There’s comfrey and marigold oil to make the skin heal faster. Almost bikini season. June

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.  Margaret Atwood

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

We did what we had to do to survive, to get out, but we’re here, ladies. We won. They tried to fucking destroy us, and we won. Moira

Do not be deceived. God is not to be mocked. For whatever man sows, so shall he reap. You did this to yourself, Commander. Nick

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. Margaret Atwood