Best Margaret Atwood quotes of all time

Best Margaret Atwood quotes of all time

Canadian author, poet and environmentalist Margaret Atwood has gained worldwide fame since her book The Handmaid's Tale was adapted into a TV series on Hulu. Since then, readers and the series' lovers have gone on to find some incredible Margaret Atwood quotes in all her books and interviews. Reading and listening to her works and interviews is always a treat as she always has something incredible to say.

Margaret Atwood quotes
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The success of The Handmaid's Tale led to the adaptation of another of the author's books: Alias Grace. This is an incredible miniseries set in the 19th century. The book, as well as the series, is full of suspense and intrigue. More of her works have gone on to become bestsellers since then. She has now released a new book The Testaments which, too, is bound to have some brilliant quotes.

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Here are some of the best Margaret Atwood quotes of all time.

Margaret Atwood quotes from The Handmaid's Tale

  • "Nolite te Bastardes Carborundorum" - In English, this quote roughly translates to "Don't let the bastards grind you down."
  • Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance. You have to work at it.
  • To want is to have a weakness.
  • But who can remember the pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind.
Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • Nothing changes instantaneously. In a gradually heating bathtub, you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.
  • There is more than one kind of freedom... 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.
  • Some people mistakenly think nature is very nice and benevolent and never betrays.

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Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze.
  • Better never means better for everyone... It always means worse, for some.
  • 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.
  • You can't help how you feel but you can help how you behave.
Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself

Margaret Atwood quotes from her other books

The Handmaid's Tale is not Margaret Atwood's only book. She has other literary works that have some incredible Margaret Atwood quotes in them too. Some of them are as follows:

Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • When you're young, you think everything you do is disposable. You move from now to now, crumpling time up in your hands, tossing it away. You're your own speeding car. You think you can get rid of things, and people too—leave them behind. You don't yet know about the habit they have, of coming back - The Blind Assassin
  • Time is not a thing that passes. It's a sea on which you float. - The Year of the Flood
  • Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise. - Cat's Eye
  • War is what happens when language fails. - The Robber Bride
  • When you are in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all, but only confusion. A dark roaring, blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It’s only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it, to yourself or someone else. - Alias Grace
  • I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed and that necessary. - Cat's Eye
  • Why does the mind do such things? Turn on us, rend us, dig the claws in. If you get hungry enough, they say, you start eating your own heart. Maybe it's much the same. - The Blind Assassin
  • If we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged - Alias Grace

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Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • “Love blurs your vision; but after it recedes, you can see more clearly than ever. It's like the tide going out, revealing whatever's been thrown away and sunk: broken bottles, old gloves, rusting pop cans, nibbled fish-bodies, bones. This is the kind of thing you see if you sit in the darkness with open eyes, not knowing the future.” - Cat's Eye
  • I’m working on my own life story. I don’t mean I’m putting it together. No, I’m taking it apart. It’s mostly a question of editing. If you’d wanted the narrative line you should have asked earlier, when I still knew everything and was more than willing to tell. - The Tent
  • I wanted to forget the past, but it refused to forget me; it waited for sleep, then cornered me. -Lady Oracle
  • Knowing too much about other people puts you in their power. They have a claim on you, you are forced to understand their reasons for doing things and then you are weakened. - Cat's Eye
  • What restless woman can resist a man with a shovel in one hand and a glowing rose bush in the other and a moderately crazed glitter in his eyes that might be mistaken for love? - Maddaddam Trilogy
  • What is believed in society is not always the equivalent of what is true; but as regards to a woman’s reputation, it amounts to the same thing. - Alias Grace

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Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • There may not be one truth - there may be several truths - but saying that is not to say that reality doesn't exist. - Alias Grace
  • Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing, in the end, can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does. - The Penelopiad
  • An eye for an eye only leads to more blindness. - Cat's Eye
Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • God gave unto animals wisdom past our power to see: Each knows innately how to live, which we must learn laboriously. - The Year of the Flood
  • Any religion is a shadow of God, but the shadows of God are not God. - The Year of the Flood
  • Male fantasies, male fantasies, is everything run by male fantasies? Up, on a pedestal or down on your knees, it's all a male fantasy. That you're strong enough to take what they dish out, or else too weak to do anything about it. Even pretending you aren't catering to male fantasies is a male fantasy: pretending you're unseen, pretending you have a life of your own, that you can wash your feet and comb your hair unconscious of the ever-present watcher peering through the keyhole, peering through the keyhole in your head, if nowhere else. You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your v*yeur. - The Robber Bride
  • Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results. - Surfacing
  • The newspaper journalists like to believe the worst; they can sell more papers that way, as one of them told me himself; for even upstanding and respectable people dearly love to read ill of others. - Alias Grace

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Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • Hatred would have been easier. With hatred, I would have known what to do. Hatred is clear, metallic, one-handed, unwavering; unlike love. - Cat's Eye
  • The Eskimo has fifty-two names for snow because it is important to them; there ought to be as many for love. - Surfacing
  • If you knew what was going to happen, if you knew everything that was going to happen next—if you knew in advance the consequences of your actions—you'd be doomed. You'd be ruined as God. You'd be a stone. You'd never eat or drink or laugh or get out of bed in the morning. You'd never love anyone, ever again. You'd never dare to. - The Blind Assassin
  • We love each other, that’s true whatever it means, but we aren’t good at it; for some, it’s a talent, for others only an addiction. - Dancing Girls and Other stories

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Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • Madness is only an amplification of what you already are. - Surfacing
  • There's something to be said for hunger: at least it lets you know you're still alive. - Oryx and Crake
  • Is that what writing amounts to? The voice your ghost would have if it had a voice? -MaddAddam
  • To live in prison is to live without mirrors. To live without mirrors is to live without the self - "Marrying the Hangman", Selected Poems
  • When women let their hair down, it means either sexiness or craziness or death, the three by Victorian times having become virtually synonymous. - Ophelia Has a Lot to Answer For

Other Margaret Atwood quotes

These are a combination of Margaret Atwood quotes from short stories, poems lectures and interviews.

  • Why do men feel threatened by women?’ I asked a male friend of mine. … ‘They are afraid women will laugh at them,’ he said. ‘Undercut their world view.’ … Then I asked some women students in a poetry seminar I was giving, ‘Why do women feel threatened by men?’ ‘They’re afraid of being killed,’ they said. - Second Words: Selected Critical Prose, 1960-1982
  • Longed for him. Got him. Sh*t - "Very Short Stories", Wired, Nov. 2006

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Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • Optimism means better than reality; pessimism means worse than reality. I’m a realist.” - This is the author's philosophy
  • Men often ask me, Why are your female characters so paranoid? It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of their situation.” - This shows the authors stand on feminism and the reality of women's lives that are mostly shown in her books.
  • Potential has a shelf life.
Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.
  • Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth.
  • Heroes need monsters to establish their heroic credentials. You need something scary to overcome.
  • Reality simply consists of different points of view.
Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • You fit into me like a hook into an eye. A fish hook, an open eye.
  • Nothing makes me more nervous than people who say, ‘It can’t happen here.’ Anything can happen anywhere, given the right circumstances.”
  • A divorce is like an amputation; you survive, but there's less of you. - Margaret Atwood's interview in the Times Magazine
  • The thing about delirium is you think it's great but it isn't.
  • Gardening is not a rational act.

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Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.
  • Power and silence go together. We should use our privileged positions not as a shelter from the world's reality, but as a platform from which to speak. A voice is a gift. It should be cherished and used.

Margaret Atwood quotes on writing

  • All children 'write'. I suppose the real question is, why do so many people give it up?
  • I feel you do want to write and you're struggling to get started, you're afraid of something.
  • If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.
  • The choices that bedevil the writer, bedevil the translator ten times over.
  • Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow.
  • A word after a word after a word is power.

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Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • All writers learn from the dead. As long as you continue to write, you continue to explore the work of writers who have preceded you; you also feel judged and held to account by them.
  • Everyone thinks writers must know more about the inside of the human head, but that's wrong. They know less, that's why they write. Trying to find out what everyone else takes for granted - Dancing Girls and Other Stories
  • In an age that persecutes deviants, you can yet lose your life for being the possessor of a dangerous or unacceptable story. Words are powerful, which means that words can also be fatal.
Margaret Atwood quotes
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  • In the end, we all become stories.

There you have them: the best Margaret Atwood quotes of all time. The author tackles politics, love, life, feminist and realism in her works and words. You can use these awesome Margaret Atwood quotes in your everyday life and even post some of them on your WhatsApp and Instagram statuses.

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