The Handmaid's Tale: Top Ten Quotes
"We learned to whisper almost without sound. In the semidarkness we could stretch out our arms, when the Aunts weren't looking, and touch each other's hands across space. We learned to lipread, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other's mouths. In this way, we exchanged names, from bed to bed: Alma. Janine. Dolores. Moira. June." Ch. 1.
How the women learn to communicate in secret at the Rachel and Leah Center.
- Ofglen gives the standard Handmaid greeting to Offred.
"May the Lord open." Ch. 4
Offred gives Ofglen the accepted response.
"I wait. I compose myself. My self is a thing I must now compose, as one composes a speech. What I must present is a made thing, not something born." Ch. 12
Offred's thoughts just before she goes to participate in the Ceremony.
"Moira was like an elevator with open sides. She made us dizzy." Ch. 22
Offred's thoughts after Moira has escaped. The idea of freedom frightens the women who have become used to their limited lives.
"Live in the present, make the most of it, it's all you've got." Ch. 24
Offred tries to compose her thoughts after her first visit to the Commander's office.
"It was like being in an elevator cut loose at the top. Falling, falling, and not knowing when you will hit. Ch. 30
Offred describes what it was like when she realized that she and Luke had been betrayed in their plan to escape.
"Every night when I go to bed I think, In the morning I will wake up in my own house and things will be back the way they were.
It hasn't happened this morning, either. Ch. 31
Offred on how hope (and illusion) keep reviving, only to be defeated again and again by reality.
"There is something powerful in the whispering of obscenities, about those in power. There's something delightful about it, something naughty, secretive, forbidden, thrilling. It's like a spell, of sorts. It deflates them, reduces them to the common denominator where they can be dealt." Ch. 34
At the Prayvaganza Offred thinks back to Moira's irreverent attitude at such moments.
"Nature demands variety, for men. It stands to reason, it's part of the procreational strategy. It's Nature's plan." Ch. 37
The Commander explains his beliefs to Offred at the club.
The Handmaid's Tale Study GuideChoose to Continue
- The Handmaid's Tale
- Chapters 1-4
- Chapters 1-4
- Chapters 5-8
- Chapters 9-12
- Chapters 13-16
- Chapters 17-20
- Chapters 21-24
- Chapters 25-28
- Chapters 29-32
- Chapters 33-36
- Chapters 37-39
- Chapters 40-43
- Chapters 44-46 & Historical Notes
- Character Profiles
- Metaphor Analysis
- Theme Analysis
- Top Ten Quotes
- Margaret Atwood
- Essay Q&A