See what other readers are highlighting
If, like many readers — and now, viewers — of The Handmaid’s Tale, you’re marveling at how relevant the Hulu series based on Margaret Atwood’s popular dystopian novel is, then fear not. It seems many other people agree, as the book has once again become a bestseller.
The book follows the story of Offred, the titular “handmaid,” and a woman living in the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that once used to be the United States. But thanks to a rapidly declining birthrate, society has reverted back to a Puritanical repressive intolerance. Using Offred’s experiences under the new regime, Atwood describes life in this new world order.
1. “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.”
2. “Better never means better for everyone, he says. It always means worse, for some.”
3. “We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”
4. “It was after the catastrophe, when they shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency. They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time.”
5. “How easy it is to invent a humanity, for anyone at all. What an available temptation.”
6. “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.”
7. “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.”
8. “But people will do anything rather than admit that their lives have no meaning. No use, that is. No plot.”
9. “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.”
10. “You can’t help what you feel, Moira once said, but you can help how you behave.”