The best quotes from The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s iconic dystopian novel, are as chilling today as they were when audiences first read them in 1985. The book depicts a New England ruled by a totalitarian theocracy—a sexist, racist, ableist and homophobic government that has evolved into a militarized regime. Atwood’s bleak depiction of a near-future United States has continued to resonate with modern readers, who bumped the novel to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list in the weeks after Trump’s inauguration.
To celebrate the return of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale TV adaptation, we’ve collected 10 classic quotes from the text. You can check out the quotes below, or you can browse the gallery designed by Josh D. Jackson.
Remember, nolite te bastardes carborundorum.
“Freedom, like everything else, is relative.” -The Handmaid’s Tale
“Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse, for some.” -The Handmaid’s Tale
“A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze.” -The Handmaid’s Tale
“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” -The Handmaid’s Tale
“Sanity is a valuable possession; I hoard it the way people once hoarded money.” -The Handmaid’s Tale
“When we think of the past it’s the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.” -The Handmaid’s Tale
“Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind.” -The Handmaid’s Tale
“You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself.” -The Handmaid’s Tale
“I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.” -The Handmaid’s Tale
“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.” Don’t let the bastards grind you down. -The Handmaid’s Tale