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The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar

by Sylvia Plath

Transformation Quotes Page 3

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

The silence drew off, baring the pebbles and shells and all the tatty wreckage of my life. Then, at the rim of vision, it gathered itself, and in one sweeping tide, rushed me to sleep. (13.)

We don't want to get all Freudian on you, but Esther's suicide scene seems very womb-ish in its set-up. She crawls into a dark tunnel? Not tough to see this as her crawling back into a metaphorical birth canal. And the rhythmic tidal imagery suggests the contractions and water breaking during labor. Too Freudian? Or just another way to stress the association between birth and death for Esther?

Quote #8

I lay, trying to slow the beating of my heart, as every beat pushed forth another gush of blood. (19.92)

After Esther's treatment under Dr. Nolan, we see that she's finally willing herself to live. During the hemorrhaging episode after she loses her virginity, she tries to suppress her body's natural reaction to pump blood, which is actually threatening her life.

Quote #9

How did I know that someday – at college, in Europe, somewhere, anywhere – the bell jar, with its stifling distortions, wouldn't descend again? (20.60)

Even though with Quote #1 we see that the narrator/Esther is speaking from the perspective of having survived this personal tragedy, this quote suggests that Esther isn't entirely free of the threat of the bell jar.

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