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The Bell Jar Sex Quotes

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

Quote #4

[Constantin] had what no American man I've ever met has had, and that's intuition. (7.1)

In contrast to Buddy, Constantin attracts Esther because he's got something called "intuition." While Constantin isn't necessarily more attractive than Buddy, Esther feels like she can be honest with Constantin. It helps that Constantin is just as repelled by Mrs. Willard as Esther is.

Quote #5

The main point of the article ["In Defense of Chastity"] was that a man's world is different from a woman's world and a man's emotions are different from a woman's emotions and only marriage can bring the two worlds and the two different sets of emotions together properly [...] 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. (7.44-5)

This article spells out the prevailing attitude toward sexuality at the time. While it seems to defend chastity, the article actually promotes the idea that the real difference between men and women is that women have to stay pure, and men do not. The best men stay pure, other men aren't, but regardless of whether they're pure or not, all men want virginal wives. Women, on the other hand, have to stay pure no matter what.

Quote #6

Now the one thing this article didn't seem to me to consider was how a girl felt [...] 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. (7.48)

You said it, sister. As Esther astutely points out, the article mentioned in Quote #5 above doesn't say anything about love. The article makes sexuality sound as if it's just a question of the biological or psychological difference between men and women – there's nothing about love, passion, spiritual connection, romance, or even attraction.

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