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The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar


by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar Literature and Writing Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #4

I also remembered Buddy Willard saying in a sinister, knowing way that after I had children I would feel differently, I wouldn't want to write poems any more. (7.79)

Buddy, in a not so smooth move, once again disparages Esther's literary talent, this time suggesting that women are really only good for having children.

Quote #5

A feeling of tenderness filled my heart. My heroine would be myself, only in disguise. (10.99)

This is what literary critics would call a "self-reflexive" move on the part of the novel. The heroine of Esther's imaginary novel is herself, "only in disguise" – uh, like The Bell Jar is about Sylvia Plath, "only in disguise"? Kind of puts a new spin on all of those times that Esther takes on different names, hm?

Quote #6

I needed experience.

How could I write about a life when I'd never had a love affair or a baby or even seen anybody die? (10.109-110)

Interestingly, all three of these things happen in Esther's life. We hear about how she lost her virginity, we know that she's had a baby by the time she's written this story, and while she hasn't actually "seen" anyone dying, she did attempt suicide and her friend Joan passed away.

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