28+ quotes from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Quotes from The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath ·  244 pages

Rating: (471.1K votes)


“If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own silence.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, "This is what it is to be happy.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my eyes and all is born again.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I'm neurotic as hell. I'll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“The trouble was, I had been inadequate all along, I simply hadn't thought about it.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“When they asked me what I wanted to be I said I didn’t know.
"Oh, sure you know," the photographer said.
"She wants," said Jay Cee wittily, "to be everything.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“There is something demoralizing about watching two people get more and more crazy about each other, especially when you are the only extra person in the room. It's like watching Paris from an express caboose heading in the opposite direction--every second the city gets smaller and smaller, only you feel it's really you getting smaller and smaller and lonelier and lonelier, rushing away from all those lights and excitement at about a million miles an hour.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is a bad dream.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“I felt very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“because wherever I sat—on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok—I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“That’s one of the reasons I never wanted to get married. The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“I was supposed to be having the time of my life.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“I felt wise and cynical as all hell.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“But when it came right down to it, the skin of my wrist looked so white and defensless that I couldn't do it. It was as if what I wanted to kill wasn't in that skin or the thin blue pulse that jumped under my thumb, but somewhere else, deeper, more secret, and a whole lot harder to get.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“I couldn’t see the point of getting up. I had nothing to look forward to.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“I didn't know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of the throat and I'd cry for a week.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“The floor seemed wonderfully solid. It was comforting to know I had fallen and could fall no farther.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow. There was shadow in bureau drawers and closets and suitcases, and shadow under houses and trees and stones, and shadow at the back of people's eyes and smiles, and shadow, miles and miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“If you love her", I said, "you'll love somebody else someday.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“I began to think vodka was my drink at last. It didn’t taste like anything, but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallowers’ sword and made me feel powerful and godlike.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“There I went again, building up a glamorous picture of a man who would love me passionately the minute he met me, and all out of a few prosy nothings.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“Ever since I was small I loved feeling somebody comb my hair. It made me go all sleepy and peaceful.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


“So I began to think maybe it was true that when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed, and afterward you went about as numb as a slave in a totalitarian state.”
― Sylvia Plath, quote from The Bell Jar


About the author

Sylvia Plath
Born place: in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, The United States
Born date October 27, 1932
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