Quotes I Liked – The Bell Jar (Part 3)

“’How do you feel?’

‘All right.’

But I didn’t. I felt terrible.” – page 139


“’I knew you’d decide to be all right again.’” – page 140

“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.” – page 142

“Then I saw that my body had all sorts of little tricks, such as making my hands go limp at the crucial second, which would save it, whereas if I had the whole say, I would be dead in a flash. I would simply have to ambush it with whatever sense I had left, or it would trap me in its stupid cage for fifty years without any sense at all.” – page 153

“The more hopeless you were, the further away they hid you.” – page 154

“She looked loving and reproachful, and I wanted her to go away.” – page 166

“[…] I would rather have anything wrong with my body than something wrong with my head” – page 176

“[…] wherever I sat […] I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.” – page 178

“[…] I kept feeling the visitors measuring my fat and stringy hair against what I had been and what they wanted me to be.” – page 195

“The bell jar hung, suspended, a few feet above my head. I was open to the circulating air.” – page 206

“It was like observing a Martian, or a particularly warty toad. Her thoughts were not my thoughts, nor her feelings my feelings, but we were close enough so that her thoughts and feelings seemed a wry, black image of my own.” – page 210

“To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream.” – page 227

“How did I know that someday […] the bell jar, with its stifling distortions, wouldn’t descend again?” – page 230

Quotes I Liked – The Bell Jar (Part 2)

“The trouble was, I had been inadequate all along, I simply hadn’t thought about it.” – page 72

“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.” – page 73

“It occurred to me that my vision of the fig-tree and all the fat figs that withered and fell to earth might well have arisen from the profound void of an empty stomach.” – page 74

“So i began to think maybe it was true that when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed, and afterwards you went about numb as a slave in some private, totalitarian state.” – page 81

“’Not bad.’ I thought it was dreadful.” – page 87

“I could tell Marco was a woman-hater, because in spite of all the models and TV starlets in the room that night he paid attention to nobody but me. Not out of kindness or even curiosity, but because I’d happened to be dealt to him, like a playing card in a pack of identical cards.” – page 102

“Children made me sick.” – page 113

“But even that didn’t shut out the light, so I buried my head under the darkness of the pillow and pretended it was night. I couldn’t see the point of getting up. I had nothing to look forward to.” – page 113

“Then I knew what the trouble was. I needed experience. How could I write about life when I’d never get a love affair or a baby or seen anybody die?” – page 117

“What did I think was wrong? That made it sound as if nothing was really wrong, I only thought it was wrong.” – page 124

“They understood things of the spirit in Japan. They disemboweled themselves when anything went wrong.” – page 132

“What bothered me was that everything about the house seemed normal, although I knew it must be chock-full of crazy people.” – page 135

“The figures around me weren’t people, but shop dummies, painted to resemble people and propped up in attitudes counterfeiting life.” – page 136

Quotes I Liked – The Bell Jar (Part 1)

“I guess I should have been excited the way most of the other girls were, but I couldn’t get myself to react. I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.” – page 2-3

“[…] all the old ladies I ever knew wanted to teach me something, but I suddenly didn’t think they had anything to teach me.” – page 6

“[…] I didn’t have any illusions. I knew perfectly well he’d come for Doreen.” – page 8

“There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” – page 18

“[…] if you do something incorrect at table with a certain arrogance, as if you knew perfectly well you were doing it properly, you can get away with it and nobody will think you are bad-mannered or poorly brought up. They will think you are original and very witty.” – page 25

“[…] suddenly he was scribbling letters and numbers and equal signs all over the blackboard and my mind went dead.” – page 32

“’Don’t let the wicked city get you down.’” – page 36

“It was comforting to know I had fallen and could fall no farther.” – page 43

“I felt sorry when I came to the last page. 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.” – page 52

“’I reckon a good poem lasts a whole lot longer than a hundred of those people put together.’” – page 53

“If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.” – page 56

“[…]I thought how strange it had never occurred to me before that I was only purely happy until I was nine years old.” – page 71

“The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way. I wanted to dictate my own thrilling letters.” – page 72

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This review, like all the other reviews on this blog, is just going to be my personal opinion. That’s all I can really give you. I considered not writing this review, because I don’t think I can really do this book justice. I’m not an experienced or smart enough reader to make claims about literature, where I expect everyone to hang on to my every word. I hope to be able to really read deep between the lines one day, but that day has not yet arrived. That being said, I like to think I have my moments. Moving on; my personal opinion of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

  1. This book is smart, well actually it’s quite brilliant, and there were moments that left me a bit confused, but I think I got the gist of it all.
  2. It is a depiction of a person  – Esther – going through a mental illness. It puts us inside the head of someone, who’s head is working against them. It’s a really weird experience.
  3. I liked this book. This was a good book. I liked the main character, despite the fact that she doesn’t always seem lovable. The fact of the matter is, however, that we are inside Esther’s head. Esther’s view of herself might not be completely reliable all the time considering the fact that she is suffering from a mental illness that makes her suicidal. So it might not be so weird that she doesn’t always seem lovable.

I would recommend you read this book. It’s a great, brilliant book and whether you end up liking it or not, it is definitely worth a read.


“[…] I kept feeling the visitors measuring my fat and stringy hair against what I had been and what they wanted me to be.” – page 195