The Handmaid's Tale Key Quotes: Freedom and Confinement

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  • The Handmaid's Tale Key Quotes: Freedom and Confinement
  • "It isn't running away they're afraid of. We wouldn't get far. It's those other escapes, the ones you can open in yourself, given a cutting edge."
    • Chapter 2. That there are different kinds of freedom, which the people in the Commander's house know about. She's not just forbidden from jumping out of the window or running out the door—they've actually removed all possibility of suicide.
  • "It was something to talk about, a game for Sundays. Such freedom now seems almost weightless."
    • Chapter 5. Dreaming and idle chat about the future is not a luxury that living in Gilead can afford. For the reader, these are commonalities, but in Gilead that have become impossibilties.
  • "I used to dress like that. That was freedom."
    • Chapter 5. Offred is reminded of what freedom used to mean for her by the Japanese tourists. Clothing isn't just personal style, it's a representation of a freedom and autonomy.
  • "As long as we do this, butter our skin to keep it soft, we can believe that we will some day get out."
    • Chapter 17. By stealing butter and using it as a pathetic sort of lotion, the Handmaids "can believe that [they] will some day get out." Here the potential of freedom lies within an ordinary household staple.
  • "Moira had power now, she'd been set loose, she'd set herself loose. She was now a loose woman.I think we found this frightening."
    • Chapter 22. Demonstrates how good the Centre is at subverting freedom and conditioning society. The Handmaid's associated freedom with promiscuity and danger when these  ideas are not synonymous at all.
  • [dressing up is]"so sinful, so free. Freedom, like everything else, is relative."
    • Chapter 36. Again we see the way that Gilead has subverted freedom as Offred unconsciously equates sin and freedom. Yet, it's significant to mention that although even this freedom in dressing up is false as she is still a Handmaid, she relishes it.
  • "The fact is that I no longer want to leave, escape, cross the border to freedom. I want to be here, with Nick, where I can get at him."
    • Chapter 47.Being with Nick, although it's dangerous, temporary and restrictive in some senses, makes Offred's life palatable because it is freedom to an extent.

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