The Bell Jar
Society and Class Quotes Page 1
How we cite our quotes:
It was a queer sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York. (1.1)
By identifying with the Rosenbergs, a couple executed as Soviet spies, Esther situates herself outside and in some ways opposed to American society.
I knew something was wrong with me that summer ...all the little successes I'd totted up so happily at college fizzled to nothing outside the slick marble and plate-glass fronts along Madison Avenue.
I was supposed to be having the time of my life. (1.5-6)
Madison Avenue has and still is associated with the American advertising industry (think of the recent A&E series Mad Men). Esther just can't seem to go along with the rush of advertising that celebrated American consumer culture at the time.
[I]f 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. (3.17)
We invite you to test this out at a dining hall or a restaurant or maybe your second cousin's wedding. Just go for it.