Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is a positively (ironically) heartbreaking tale about the struggles of a young woman in a world full of pressures. These pressures kept pushing her to cave in more and more into herself. It is a book that deals with very strong and disturbing subjects – depression, suicide and feminism. For a book that is a little over 200-pages, it is very dense.

The Bell Jar is Plath’s only novel and it is a masterpiece in spite of the themes it highlighted. Melancholic and deeply thought-provoking, it is a majestically written paragon that resonates beyond the author herself. Its diaphanous storytelling is sprinkled with carefully constructed thoughts and quotes. Here are twelve of the most imaginative and most descriptive quotes lifted from this masterpiece. Personally, most of these quotes have made deep impact on me.

If you haven’t read my review of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, please click here.


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


“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery – air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.”
~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar


“At this rate, I’d be lucky if I wrote a page a day. Then I Knew what the problem was. I needed experience. How could I write about life when I’d never had a love affair or a baby or even seen anybody die? A girl I knew had just won a prize for a short story about her adventures among the pygmies in Africa. How could I compete with that sort of thing?”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar


“I felt very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar


“Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.”
~ Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar


“I told him I believed in hell, and that certain people, like me, had to live in hell before they died, to make up for missing out on it after death, since they didn’t believe in life after death, and what each person believed happened to him when he died.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar



“But when it came right down to it, the skin of my wrist looked so white and defenseless that I couldn’t do it. It was as if what I wanted to kill wasn’t in that skin or the thin blue pulse that jumped under my thumb, but somewhere else, deeper, more secret, and a whole lot harder to get.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar


“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow. There was shadow in bureau drawers and closets and suitcases, and shadow under houses and trees and stones, and shadow at the back of people’s eyes and smiles, and shadow, miles and miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar


“There is something demoralizing about watching two people get more and more crazy about each other, especially when you are the only extra person in the room. It’s like watching Paris from an express caboose heading in the opposite direction – every second the city gets smaller and smaller, only you feel it’s really you getting smaller and smaller and lonelier and lonelier, rushing away from all those lights and excitement at about a million miles an hour.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar


“If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I’m neurotic as hell. I’ll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar


“That’s one of the reasons I never wanted to get married. The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directs myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar


“I wanted to tell her that if only something were wrong with my body it would be fine, I would rather have anything wrong with my body than something wrong with my head, but the idea seemed so involved and wearisome that I didn’t say anything. I only burrowed down further in the bed.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

So readers, those are some intense but thought-provoking lines. What are your favorites lines and quotes from the novel? Share it in the comment box. I am more than willing to read.

Happy reading!