Tag: margaretatwood

The Handmaid's Tale

13 Quotes from Dystopian Novels to Get You Fired Up

For as long as we have been granted freedoms, there have been people fighting to take those freedoms away; this is the most human of cycles. There has never been (and will likely never be, at least not right now) a time when people haven’t had to stand up against the systemic and societal oppression they’ve been forced to deal with everyday.


We’ve been warned about what can happen when we allow ourselves to stop caring about the state of the world and the other people inhabiting it by authors since the beginning of time; the entire dystopian genre is centered around it. So, don’t allow yourself to grow sedentary but also don’t grow too fearful; for as many greedy, selfish, oppressive, bad figureheads there are in existence, there are way, way more of us who really do care and move with empathy while fighting for a world of genuine equality.


So, take a look at these thirteen quotes from dystopian novels and give yourself that extra push you may need to keep marching forward! 


“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.”  Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale



“Every faction conditions it’s members to think and act a certain way. And most people do it. For most people, it’s not hard to learn, to find a pattern of thought that works and stay that way. But our minds move in a dozen different directions. We can’t be confined to one way of thinking, and that terrifies our leaders. It means we can’t be controlled. And it means that, no matter what they do, we will always cause trouble for them.” Veronica Roth, Divergent



“Did you ever feel, as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you aren’t using – you know, like all the water that goes down the falls instead of through the turbines?” Aldous Huxley, Brave New World



“If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” George Orwell, 1984



“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.” Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451



“We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.” Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange



“Of course they needed to care. It was the meaning of everything.” Lois Lowry, The Giver



“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.” Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale



“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas



“Tell freedom I said hello.” Lauren DeStefano, Wither



“But you can’t make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can’t last.” Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451



“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.” Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged


“I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running, not staying, but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.” Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave








Featured Image via Romper

Cat on books

15 Quotes About Writing from Famous Authors

Whether you’re an aspiring writer, an avid reader, or none of the above you can’t help but admit the power and influence the written word has on us all. Writing can be cathartic, informative, distracting, devastating, connecting, and everything in-between.


I love writing and words and all the ways in which they can effect our lives so much (seriously) that I’m at a complete and total loss for them right now. 


So, I’m just going to let these fifteen quotes from famous authors do the rest of the talking.



“If I waited for perfection…I would never write a word.” —Margaret Atwood




“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” —Maya Angelou



“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” —Joan Didion



“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”—Virginia Woolf



“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.” —Enid Bagnold




“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” —Anaïs Nin



“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”  —Sylvia Plath



“When I’m writing I know I’m doing the thing I was born to do.” —Anne Sexton



“I am writing all this down in blue ink, so as to remember that all words, not just some, are written in water.” —Maggie Nelson



“In the diary you find proof that in situations which today would seem unbearable, you lived, looked around and wrote down observations, that this right hand moved then as it does today.” —Franz Kafka



“A person who writes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down.” —Edna St. Vincent Millay



“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” —William Faulkner



Who am I? I’m just a writer. I write things down. I walk through your dreams and invent the future. Sure, I sink the boat of love, but that comes later. And yes, I swallow glass, but that comes later.” —Richard Siken



“Not all poetry wants to be storytelling. And not all storytelling wants to be poetry. But great storytellers and great poets share something in common: They had something to say, and did.” —Sarah Kay



“The secret to being a writer is that you have to write. It’s not enough to think about writing or to study literature or plan a future life as an author. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work.” —Augusten Burroughs





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handmaids city

New SNL Sketch Blends ‘The Handmaids Tale’ with ‘Sex and the City’

“As I waited for the girls in Downtown Gilead, I was feeling like an Uptown Gal-ead…”


In a new SNL sketch from last Saturday night, the team imagined up a world where Sex and the City meets The Handmaid’s Tale. The sketch pokes fun at the dark-yet-all-too-possible world of Handmaids, while also joking about the stereotypical ways in which groups of women are portrayed when they get together for happy hour or brunch. They blend lines from both shows in the most satirical, hilarious way:


Under his eye? What about under my eye? Look at these bags!


We see the ladies as they get together over their rations to laugh and talk about how times are, like, so tough in Gilead but, at least red is pretty flattering and their bonnets are really cute! They also groan and vent about the overbearing men in their lives: “John controls me, and I don’t pay rent!”


It’s dark, witty, powerful, brutally honest, and sadly (scarily) relatable.


Blessed be the fruit!




Featured Image Via CinemaBlend

Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett’s New Single Is an Ode to Margaret Atwood

Courtney Barnett is an Australian singer/songwriter widely known for her bold, blunt lyrics and easy, conversational style of singing. Her music blurs the line between spoken word and indie rock, and NPR has deemed her, “the best lyricist in rock music today.


Barnett hit the world by storm with the 2015 release of her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. Still, despite the excitement many felt from seeing a new, insanely lovable artist with such a refreshing, honest, witty style, Barnett was never fully safe from the hate-filled trolls of the interweb. 


Shortly after her initial album release, Barnett received the strangely-simple-yet-weirdly-aggressive message, “I could eat alphabet soup and spit out better lyrics than you.”


So, she took the remark and used it to fuel the lyrics of her latest single Nameless, Faceless.


“He said “I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup
And spit out better words than you”
But you didn’t
Man, you’re kidding yourself if you think
The world revolves around you
You know you got lots to give
And so many options
I’m real sorry
‘Bout whatever happened to you”


Barnett used the line to take a critical look at gender roles and as a broader take down of the patriarchal society built upon expectations and beliefs that harm both men and women. A society that raises women to believe they must be submissive, weak, malleable, and never make a fuss. A society that teaches men that, in order to keep their masculinity intact, they must never let their softness show and always remain angry, aggressive, and on-top.


She flows into the chorus with the famed Margaret Atwood quote:


“Men are scared that women will laugh at them / Women are scared that men will kill them”


This line is used as a basis to describe her own experiences of walking home alone from pubs late at night with her keys between her knuckles, ready to defend herself should anyone try to grab her or do her harm. 


This song is relatable in all the ways it shouldn’t be in today’s world. I know I, personally, have used this defense (along with pepper spray, tasers, and keeping a close friend on the phone with me should I need someone to call for help), and I know many (if not all) of my female friends have, as well. 


Safety is a big issue within gender inequality. Women are taught from a young age that we should learn the best ways to protect ourselves—take self-defense classes, make sure we are never out at night alone, always let someone know once you’ve made it home okay. (I’ve even gone as far as indefinitely sharing my iPhone location with friends when I’ve been out on dates.) 


It’s refreshing to see an artist speak out about something that sounds so commonplace and mundane, yet shouldn’t be. Noticing a stranger’s presence as he begins to follow you down an empty street at night, forcing yourself to ignore the intense stare of a man sitting across from you on the train so you don’t accidentally make eye contact, always feeling obligated to react and reject advances politely when being hit-on so as not to become one of the thousands of women murdered a year for saying “no”, can somehow always manage to shake you down to the core, leave your anxiety at it’s peak, and really start to wear you down. Witnessing someone in the spotlight use their artwork to loudly say “hey, I’ve been there, too. I get it, it sucks, and I’m tired.” feels redeeming and hopeful.


Barnett’s take is raw, gritty, and honest, all while still remaining energizing and fun, with her Atwood references adding a literary twist! 


Check it out now!




Featured Image Via Mixdown Mag

watson and atwood

Highlights From Emma Watson’s Interview With “Handmaid’s Tale” Author Margaret Atwood


What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? As it turns out, some pretty fascinating conversation! Emma Watson, beloved actress (“Harry Potter,” “Beauty and the Beast”) and women’s rights advocate, recently sat down with author and respected activist Margaret Atwood to discuss the enormous legacy of Atwood’s 1985 novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” for Entertainment Weekly.  Below are some of the best exchanges from that conversation. 


On the inspirations behind “The Handmaid’s Tale”:


M. Atwood

Image courtesy of CBC


Watson: You were living in West Berlin when you wrote “The Handmaid’s Tale” in 1984; it was before the wall came down. Was being in a divided city a big influence on the novel or had you been thinking about it before you arrived in Berlin? I’d love to know how the novel came about.


Atwood: There were three inspirations. First, what right wing people were already saying in 1980. They were saying the kinds of things they’re now doing, but at that time they didn’t have the power to do them…. The second inspiration was historical. The 17th-century foundation of America was not, “Let’s have a democracy.” It was “Let’s have a theocracy,” which was what they established in the New England states, such as Massachusetts… The third inspiration was simply my reading of speculative fiction and sci-fi, especially that of the ’30’s, ’40’s, and ’50’s, and my desire to give the form a try. Most of the ones I’d read had been written by men and had male protagonists, and I wanted to flip that and see what such a thing would look like if it were told from the point of view of a female narrator.


On the staying power and popularity of the novel:


handmaids at congress

Image courtesy of International Business Times


Watson: What is it about it, do you think, that makes it so endlessly interesting to new generations of readers, beyond the fact that it speaks to a specific political moment?


Atwood: There were a couple of rules I had for writing it, and one of them was that I would put nothing into it that had not been done at some time or in some place. All of the details have precedents in real life. The television series is following the same rule — they’ve added in some stuff, such as female genital mutilation, but they’re keeping to the rule that nothing goes in that doesn’t have a precedent in reality… So the book isn’t a violation of human nature, and it’s not a just an invention. It’s based on stuff that people have really done and therefore could do again.


On Bonding Over “The Circle”:


The Circle

Image courtesy of Geek.com


Watson: I’ve just done a film called The Circle which is about how easy it is and would be to control huge groups of people with the amount of data that’s been collected.


Atwood: Dave Eggers’ book?



Watson: Yes, exactly.



Atwood: I reviewed it for the New York Review of Books.



Watson: I’ll have to read it—that’s amazing. Well, I read the book and became kind of obsessed with it.


Atwood: My review will explain the cover to you. [laughs] My theory is that it’s a manhole cover.


On adapting her books for other mediums:



atwood and moss

Image courtesy of The Washington Post


Atwood: Working on it is like summer camp for grown ups — if the weather is nice and you like the people, it’s a joy, but if the weather is horrible and you don’t like the people it’s hell, and your parents won’t come and take you home.


Watson: This is the gamble we all take!


On the patriarchy and the meaning of  the word “feminist”:


feminism symbol

Image courtesy of TED.com


Watson: We live in a patriarchy, we live in a particular power structure. Do you think it’s possible for all women to be harmonious with each other? I’m interested in whether it’s harder because of the shape of the power structure and our place within it.


Atwood: Of course; there are hard things. But we’re human beings! It’s possible for men to be harmonious with one another even though they’re often very competitive. But women too are human beings, that’s my foundational belief — so they’re not exempt from the emotions that human beings have…

And we don’t live in just “a” patriarchy, we live in a number of different kinds of patriarchies. You can pinpoint the moment in which women started to be treated markedly worse than men (advent of wheat and agriculture)… So all of that is to be taken into consideration; but none of it means that women are exempt from bad individual behavior towards one another.


Watson: Definitely not! Misogyny has no gender.


Watson: Are you bored of the “Are you a feminist” question? You must have been asked that a lot whilst talking about the new TV show.


Atwood: I’m not bored with it, but we have to realize it’s become one of those general terms that can mean a whole bunch of different things, so I usually say, “Tell me what you mean by that word and then we can talk.” If people can’t tell me what they mean, then they don’t really have an idea in their heads of what they’re talking about.


Watson: I agree. I think there’s still a huge amount of confusion and misconception around the word, so it can become tricky territory.



Atwood: It’s like Christians. Do we mean the Pope? Do we mean Mormons? What are we talking about here? Because they’re quite different.



On the political necessity of artists:


Atwood at demonstration

Image courtesy of New World Encyclopedia 


Watson: No, no, but I was wondering if you could talk about a couple of the causes that you campaign for and what you’ve learned about campaigning over the years as you’ve been doing.


Atwood: Okay, so I often get asked to be a spokesperson for a very simple reason, and that reason is that I don’t have a job. So I can’t be fired. A lot of people would like to say those things but they have jobs and they may have families, and they would put themselves in jeopardy if they said some of the kinds of things that I do. So that’s why artists and writers are so often picked. They can’t be fired. They can vilified, people can call them names…but they can’t actually be dismissed.


On their childhoods and living life without fear:


watson giving speech

Image courtesy of Belfast Telegraph


Watson: Yes, yes, very true. You have your own perspective, and you think for yourself. I’m really interested in how you came to be this person that believed in her own perspective and opinion.



Atwood: You mean not easily frightened?


Watson: Yes! That’s exactly what I mean.


Atwood [laughs]: Okay, so Emma, I grew up in the woods. It gives you a different viewpoint; I was improperly socialized. I think if I’d grown up in a small town or if I’d been sent to a girls’ boarding school when I was four, as some of my acquaintances were, things would be somewhat different.


Watson: I didn’t grow up in the woods, but sometimes I do get myself in sticky situations, by being a little braver than I quite know how to be, but the reverse is that you spend time fearing fear itself which I don’t find particularly instructive or helpful either.


Atwood: So we should try for pragmatic realism, I suppose.


Watson: Yes, yes, that’s the goal, that’s the dream—pragmatic realism.


Atwood [laughs]: Well, good luck with it!


Featured image courtesy of PlayGround.