The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own silence.

If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.

Of course, somebody had seduced Buddy, Buddy hadn't started it and it wasn't really his fault.

What a man wants is a mate and what a woman wants is infinite security.

What a man is is an arrow into the future and what a woman is is the place the arrow shoots off from.

I thought how strange it had never occurred to me before that I was only purely happy until I was nine years old. I had never been really happy again.

The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way. I wanted to dictate my own thrilling letters.

Ever since Buddy Willard had told me about that waitress I had been thinking I ought to go out and sleep with somebody myself. Sleeping with Buddy wouldn't count, though, because he would still be one person ahead of me, it would have to be with somebody else.

Eric said it would be spoiled by thinking this woman too was just an animal like the rest, so if he loved anybody he would never go to bed with her. He'd go to a whore if he had to and keep the woman he loved free of all that dirty business.

This woman lawyer said the best men wanted to be pure for their wives, and even if they weren't pure, they wanted to be the ones to teach their wives about sex. Of course they would try to persuade a girl to have sex and say they would marry her later, but as soon as she gave in, they would lose all respect for her and start saying that if she did that with them she would do that with other men and they would end up by making her life miserable.

I couldn't stand the idea of a woman having to have a single pure life and a man being able to have a double life, one pure and one not.

Finally, I decided that if it was so difficult to find a red-blooded intelligent man who was still pure by the time he was twenty-one I might as well forget about staying pure myself and marry somebody who wasn't pure either. Then when he started to make my life miserable I could make his miserable as well.

Instead of the world being divided up into Catholics and Protestants or Republicans and Democrats or white men and black men or even men and women, I saw the world divided into people who had slept with somebody and people who hadn't, and this seemed the only really significant difference between one person and another.

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.

I'm so glad they're going to die.

The silence between us was so profound I thought part of it must be my fault.

It doesn't take two to dance, it only takes one.

"If you love her," I said, "you'll love somebody else someday."

How could I write about life when I'd never had a love affair or a baby or even seen anybody die?

I would never learn a word of shorthand. If I never learned shorthand I would never have to use it.

I hated the very idea of the eighteenth century, with all those smug men writing tight little couplets and being so dead keen on reason.

I had always looked down on my mother's college, as it was coed, and filled with people who couldn't get scholarships to the big eastern colleges. Now I saw that the stupidest person at my mother's college knew more than I did.

It made me tired just to think of it. I wanted to do everything once and for all and be through with it.

The trouble about jumping was that if you didn't pick the right number of stories, you might still be alive when you hit bottom. I thought seven stories must be a safe distance.

You know, Esther, you've got the perfect setup of a true neurotic.

Only my case was incurable.

I hate saying anything to a group of people. When I talk to a group of people I always have to single out one and talk to him, and all the while I am talking I feel the others are peering at me and taking unfair advantage.

It wouldn't have made one scrap of difference to me, 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.

All the heat and fear purged itself. I felt surprisingly at peace. The bell jar hung, suspended, a few feet above my head. I was open to the circulating air.

I wondered if all women did with other women was lie and hug.

"I like you." "That's tough, Joan," I said, picking up my book. "Because I don't like you. You make me puke, if you want to know."

Then the stories of blood-stained bridal sheets and capsules of red ink bestowed on already deflowered brides floated back to me.

"Do you think there's something in me that drives women crazy?"

I am, I am, I am.

For the few little outward successes I may seem to have, there are acres of misgivings and self-doubt.

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my lids and all is born again.

Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.

Author: SakiNama

His Highness