I didn't really see why people should look at me. Plenty of people looked queerer than I did.
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.
I felt overstuffed and dull and disappointed, the way I always do the day after Christmas, as if whatever it was the pine boughs and the candles and the silver and gilt-ribboned presents and the birch-log fires and the Christmas turkey and the carols at the piano promised never came to pass.
It was like the first time i saw a cadaver. For weeks afterward the cadavers head, or what was left of it - floated up behind my eggs and bacon at breakfast and in the face of Buddy Willard, who was responsible for my seeing it in the first place, and pretty soon I felt as though I were carrying that cadavers head around with me on a string, like some black, noseless balloon stinking of vinegar.
I felt the first man I slept with must be intelligent, so I could respect him.
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 that excitement at about a million miles an hour.
I had always imagined myself hitching up on to my elbows on the delivery table after it was all over - dead white, of course, with no makeup and from the awful ordeal, but smiling and radiant, with my hair down to my waist, and reaching out for my first little squirmy child and saying its name, whatever it was.
My flesh winced, in cowardice, from such a death.
I had removed my patent leather shoes after a while, for they foundered badly in the sand. It pleased me to think they would be perched there on the silver log, pointing out to sea, like a sort of soul-compass, after I was dead.
Secretly, in studies and attics and schoolrooms all over America, people must be writing.
I hadn't, at the last moment, felt like washing off the two diagonal lines of dried blood that marked my cheeks. They seemed touching, and rather spectacular, and I thought I would carry them around with me, like the relic of a dead lover, till they wore off of their own accord.
The bell jar hung, suspended, a few feet above my head. I was open to the circulating air.
I liked looking on at other people in crucial situations. If there was a road accident or a street fight or a baby pickled in a laboratory jar for me to look at, I'd stop and look so hard I never forgot it. I certainly learned a lot of things I never would have learned otherwise this way, and even when they surprised me or made me sick I never let on, but pretended that's the way I knew things were all the time.
The floor seemed wonderfully solid. It was comforting to know I had fallen and could fall no farther.
I opened the door and blinked out into the bright hall. I had the impression it wasn't night and it wasn't day, but some lurid third interval that had suddenly slipped between them and would never end.
The more hopeless you were, the further away they hid you.
A dispassionate white sun shone at the summit of the sky. I wanted to hone myself on it till I grew saintly and thin and essential as the blade of a knife.
I sank back in the gray, plush seat and closed my eyes. The air of the bell jar wadded round me and I couldn't stir.
The only reason I remembered this play was because it had a mad person in it, and everything I had ever read about mad people stuck in my mind, while everything else flew out.
But I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure at all. How did I know that someday--at college, in Europe, somewhere, anywhere--the bell jar, with its stifling distortions, wouldn't descend again?
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 loosing 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.
The only thing I could think of was turkey neck and turkey gizzards and I felt very depressed.
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 horizontally, as if they were loops of string lying on the paper, and someone had come along and blown them askew.
I saw the years of my life spaced along a road in the form of telephone poles threaded together by wires. I counted one, two, three... nineteen telephone poles, and then the wires dangled into space, and try as I would, I couldn't see a single pole beyond the nineteenth.
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.
From the night Buddy Willard kissed me and said I must go out with a lot of boys, he made me feel I was much more sexy and experienced than he was and that everything he did like hugging and kissing and petting was simply what I made him feel like doing out of the blue, he couldn't help it and didn't know how it came about. Now I saw he had only been pretending all this time to be so innocent.
I wanted to crawl in between those black lines of print, the way you crawl through a fence, and go to sleep under that beautiful big green fig-tree.
I began to see why woman-haters could make such fools of women. Woman-haters were like gods: invulnerable and chock full of power. They descended, and then they disappeared. You could never catch one.
I wanted to tell her that if only something were wrong with my body it would be fine, I would rather have anything wrong with my body than something wrong with my head, but the idea seemed so involved and wearisome that I didn't say anything. I only burrowed down further in the bed.
I collect men with interesting names.
If Doctor Nolan asked me for the matches, I would say that I'd thought they were made of candy and had eaten them.
I could feel the winter shaking my bones and banging my teeth together.
If there's anything I look down on, it's a man in a blue outfit.
I decided I would put off the novel until I had gone to Europe and had a lover, and that I would never learn a word of shorthand. If I never learned shorthand I would never have to use it.
If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.
More Sylvia Plath Quotations (Based on Topics)
Love - Death & Dying - Life - World - Mind - Writing - Nature - Cry - Education - Winter - Heaven - Silver - People - Thought & Thinking - Hell - God - Sleep - Woman - Time - View All Sylvia Plath Quotations
More Sylvia Plath Quotations (By Book Titles)
- The Bell Jar
Horace - Edgar Allan Poe - Sophocles - Rumi - Lucretius - Jorge Luis Borges - Edward Young - Edgar Guest - Aristophanes - A. E. Housman