The Bell Jar- Words & Quotes

Words from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath:

  • lurid- gruesome, revolting
  • malady- a disorder or disease; an undesirable condition
  • rivulet- a small stream
  • mulish- stubborn (like a mule)
  • dybbuk- a demon; the soul of a dead person
  • bosky- covered with bushes, shrubs, or small trees
  • peremptory- imperative, assertive
  • jowl- jaw or cheek
  • wry- twisted, distorted

Quotes from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath:

“Only I wasn’t steering anything, not even myself.”

“I felt myself melting into the shadows like the negative of a person I’d never seen before in my life.”

“The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of the silence. It was my own silence.”

“It didn’t seem to be summer anymore. I could feel the winter shaking my bones and banging my teeth together.”

“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.”

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

“How could I write about life when I’d never had a love affair or a baby or even seen anybody die?”

“…but even my eyelids didn’t shut out the light. They hung the raw, red screen of their tiny vessels in front of me like a wound.”

“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow.”

“The silence surged back, smoothing itself as black water smooths its old surface calm over a dropped stone.”

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

“…I wondered if all women did with other women was lie and hug.”

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

“That shadow would marry this shadow, and the peculiar, yellowish soil of our locality seal the wound in the whiteness, and yet another snowfall erase the traces of newness in Joan’s grave.”

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”


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