Sunday, May 14, 2017

These Quotes from the Handmaid's Tale, Written in 1984, Will Terrify You with Their Prescience

"It's good to have small goals that can be easily attained."

"I'm ravenous for news, any kind of news; even if it's false news, it must mean something."

"Last week they shot a woman, right about here . . . She was fumbling in her robe, for her pass, and they thought she was hunting for a bomb. There have been such incidents."

"It has taken so little time to change our minds, about things like this."

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

"Ordinary, said Aunt Lydia, is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary."

"But we lived as usual. Everyone does, most of the time. Whatever is going on is as usual."

"I'm allowed to watch the news . . . Such as it is: who knows if any of it is true? It could be old clips. It could be faked. But I watch it anyway, hoping to be able to read beneath it."

"In reduced circumstances, you have to believe all kinds of things."

"This is something you can depend upon: there will always be alliances of one kind or another."

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

"Already we were losing the taste for freedom, already we were finding these walls secure."

"It can't last forever. Others have thought such things, in bad times before this, and they were always right, they did get out one way or another, and it didn't last forever. Although for them it may have lasted all the forever they had."


"They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics . . . 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."

"Newspapers were censored and some were closed down, for security reasons they said. The road-blocks began to appear, and Identipasses. Everyone approved of that, since it was obvious you couldn't be too careful. They said that new elections would be held, but that it would take some time to prepare for them. The thing to do, they said, was to continue on as usual."


"It's outrageous, one woman said, but without belief. What was it about this that made us feel we deserved it?"

"There were marches, of course, a lot of women and some men. But they were smaller than you might have thought. I guess people were scared. And when it was known that the police, or the army, or whoever they were, would open fire almost as soon as any of the marches even started, the marches stopped." 

"If my life is bearable, maybe what they're doing is all right after all."

"Better never means better for everyone . . . It always means worse for some."

"Perhaps he's reached that state of intoxication which power is said to inspire, the state in which you believe you are indispensable and can therefore do anything, absolutely anything you feel like, anything at all."

"He says this as if he believes it, but he says many things that way. Maybe he believes it, maybe he doesn't, or maybe he does both at the same time. Impossible to tell what he believes."

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

"I've heard this speech, or one like it, often enough before: the same platitudes, the same slogans, the same phrases: the torch of the future, the cradle of the race, the task before us."

"To institute an effective totalitarian system or indeed any system at all you must offer some benefits and freedoms, at least to a privileged few, in return for those you remove."

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