Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Quotes of Note: Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale" II

Quotes of note from The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood:

(Page numbers gleaned from the 1998 Anchor Books trade paperback.)

"It's the possible that's the catch." (p. 117)

"[S]omeone should just give them the technology and get on with it." (p. 118)

"A man is just a woman's strategy for making other women." (p. 121)

"[W]ho can remember pain, once it's over?" (p. 125)

"[T]here will always be alliances, of one kind or another." (p. 129)

"For every rule there is always an exception: this too can be depended upon." (p. 129)

"It takes a while to get the wrinkles out, of anything new." (p. 130)

"It's impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out... ." (p. 134)

"[I]f you happen to be a man, ... please remember: you will never be subjected to the temptation or feeling you must forgive, a man, as a woman." (p. 134)

"[F]orgiveness too is a power. To beg for it is a power, and to withhold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest." (pp. 134-135)

"We are two-legged wombs, that's all: sacred vessels, ambulatory chalices." (p. 136)

"There's no doubt about who holds the real power." (p. 136)

"To want is to have a weakness." (p. 136)

"[A]fter a request like that there's always a next time, whether you say yes or no." (p. 139)

"You can think clearly only with your clothes on." (p. 143)

"Men are sex machines ... and not much more. They only want one thing. You must learn to manipulate them, for your own good." (p. 144)

"She was thinking about how not to think." (p. 145)

"How easy it is to invent a humanity, for anyone at all. What an available temptation." (p. 146)

"Judgment: emotion inappropriate to the occasion." (p. 146)

"Whatever is silenced will clamor to be heard, though silently." (p. 153)

"Goddesses are possible now... ." (p. 153)

"What was in [magazines] was promise. They dealt in transformations; they suggested an endless series of possibilities... . They suggested one adventure after another... . ... The real promise in them was immortality." (p. 157)

"What's dangerous in the hands of the multitudes, ... is safe enough for those whose motives are ... [b]eyond reproach... ." (p. 158)

"You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself." (p. 161)

"Men at the top have always had mistresses... ." (p. 163)

"A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze." (p. 165)

"Do you think God listens ... to these machines?" (p. 168)

"[T]here was more than one way of living with your head in the sand... ." (p. 172)

"Keep calm... . Everything is under control." (p. 174)

"Ours is not to reason why... ." (p. 179)

"You can't stick your hand through a glass window without getting cut... ." (p. 180)

"Adolescents are always such prudes." (p. 180)

"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." (p. 181)

"Don't let the bastards grind you down." (p. 187)

"You can't help what you feel ... but you can help how you behave." (p. 192)

"This is what you have to do before you kill... . You have to create an it, where none was before." (pp. 192-193)

"That's one of the things they do. They force you to kill, within yourself." (p. 193)

"[A] little pain cleans out the mind... ." (p. 194)

"What we prayed for was emptiness... ." (p. 194)

"I don't believe for an instant that what's going on out there is what You meant." (p. 194)

"[K]eep the others safe, if they are safe. Don't let them suffer too much. If they have to die, let it be fast. You might even provide a Heaven for them. We need You for that. Hell we can make for ourselves." (p. 195)

"Maybe you appreciate things more when you don't have much time left." (p. 200)

"I like to do things right, is all... . No sense otherwise." (p. 208)

"There's hardly any point to my thinking, is there? ... What I think doesn't matter." (p. 211)

"You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs... ." (p. 211)

"Better never means better for everyone... . It always means worse, for some." (p. 211)

"Draw a circle, step into it, it will protect you." (p. 211)

"God Is a National Resource." (p. 213)

"[P]eople will do anything rather than admit that their lives have no meaning." (p. 215)

"There's always something to occupy the inquiring mind." (p. 221)

"There is something powerful in the whispering of obscenities, about those in power." (p. 222)

"If you worked out enough, maybe the man would too." (p. 226)

"All you have to do ... is keep your mouth shut and look stupid." (p. 236)

"Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder." (p. 262)

"I would like to be without shame. I would like to be shameless. I would like to be ignorant. Then I would not know how ignorant I was." (p. 263)

"[I]t is never too late... ." (p. 269)

"I should have taken things into my own hands while I had the chance." (p. 293)

"[T]he world is full of weapons if you're looking for them. I should have paid attention." (p. 293)

"Our job is not to censure but to understand." (p. 302)

"As all historians know, the past is a great darkness, and filled with echoes." (p. 311)

No comments: