The Bell Jar was a famous semi- autobiographical novel by Sylvia Plath, though it was first published under the pseudonym, Victoria Lucas. The novel is a banned book because its controversial content. It has been thought that students may be inspired to commit suicide after reading about Esther Greenwood's struggle with mental illness. Here are a few quotes from The Bell Jar.
"If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed."
I thought how strange it had never occurred to me before that I was only purely happy until I was nine years old.
"Does she know you love her?" "Of course." I paused. The obstacle seemed unreal to me. "If you love her," I said, "you'll love somebody else someday."
When they asked some old Roman philosopher or other how he wanted to die, he said he would open his veins in a warm bath. I thought it would be easy, lying in the tub and seeing the redness flower from my wrists, flush after flush through the clear water, till I sank to sleep under a surface gaudy as poppies.But when it came right down to it, the skin of my wrist looked so white and defenseless 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 at. The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own silence. ~Sylvia Plath, 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, The Bell Jar
To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar,
How did I know that someday - at college, in Europe, somewhere, anywhere - the bell jar, with its stifling distortions, wouldn't descend again? ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 20
I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am "
There is something demoralizing about watching two people get more and more crazy about each other, especially when you are the extra person in the room."- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 2
"The sickness rolled through me in great waves. After each wave it would fade away and leave me limp as a wet leaf and shivering all over and then I would feel it rising up in me again, and the glittering white torture chamber tiles under my feet and over my head and all four sides closed in and squeezed me to pieces." - Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 4
"Buddy kissed me again in front of the house steps, and the next fall, when his scholarship to medical school came through, I went there to see him instead of to Yale and it was there I found out that he had fooled me all those years and what a hypocrite he was." - Sylvia Plath, 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, The Bell Jar, Chapter 7
"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, The Bell Jar, Chapter 8
"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, The Bell Jar, Chapter 8
"But when I took up my pen, my hand made big, jerky letters like those of a child, and the lines sloped down the page from left to right almost diagonally, as if they were loops of string lying on the paper, and someone had come along and blown them askew." - Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 11
"I am climbing to my freedom, freedom from fear, freedom from marrying the wrong person, like Buddy Willard."
"The bell jar hung, suspended, a few feet above my head. I was open to the circulating air." - Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 18
"Doctor Nolan said, quite bluntly, that a lot of people would treat me gingerly, or even avoid me, like a leper with a warning bell. My mother's face floated to mind, a pale reproachful moon, at her last and first visit to the asylum since my twentieth birthday. A daughter in an asylum! I had done that to her." - Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 20