© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale


by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale Marriage Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #7

Absurd, but that's what I want. An argument, about who should put the dishes in the dishwasher, whose turn it is to sort the laundry, clean the toilet; something daily and unimportant in the big scheme of things. We could even have a fight about that, about unimportant, important. (31.6)

The narrator craves the normalcy that was a fundamental part of her marriage, something she took for granted. Fighting about even the simplest, most trivial thing would be a privilege now.

Quote #8

"Behind my back," she says. "You could have left me something." Does she love him, after all? She raises her cane. I think she is going to hit me, but she doesn't. (44.17)

Serena Joy's logic is hypocritical here. She's angry with the narrator for betraying her by spending time with the Commander, but she forced the narrator to betray the Commander with Nick. Her anger here may not be justifiable, but it is human.

Quote #9

The regime created an instant pool of such women by the simple tactic of declaring all second marriages and nonmarital liaisons adulterous, arresting the female partners, and, on the grounds that they were morally unfit, confiscating the children they already had, who were adopted by childless couples of the upper echelons who were eager for progeny by any means. (Historical Notes.25)

Here, one of the professors explains what happened to marriages during the Republic of Gilead era, clarifying the reason the narrator was selected to become a Handmaid. Ironically, one of the biblical passages cited to support the use of Handmaids being pulled from "adulterous" relationships—the story of Rachel and Leah—clearly is about a bigamous marriage.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...