Friday, May 25

The Quotable Bell Jar

My book club and I recently read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I'd read the book as a teenager and loved it, and nearly a decade later it's still a fantastic novel. Interestingly enough, for being a book that's primarily about depression and suicide, I found it to be witty and even funny at times, and most of my notes and highlights surround quotes I just liked that had nothing to do with any overall theme or thesis.
Here they are, in a segment I'm calling, probably much to poor Sylvia's chagrin, The Quotable Bell Jar.

I felt wise and cynical as all hell.

I began to think vodka was my drink at last. It didn't taste like anything, but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallower's sword and made me feel powerful and god-like.

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 and lonelier and lonelier, rushing away from all those lights and that excitement at about a million miles an hour.

There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them. Whenever I'm sad I'm going to die, or so nervous I can't sleep, or in love with somebody I won't be seeing for a week, I slump down just so far and then I say: "I'll go take a hot bath."

I never feel so much myself as when I'm in a hot bath.

I'm not sure why it is, but I love food more than just about anything else.

I'd discovered, after a lot of extreme apprehension about what spoons to use, that if you do something incorrect at a 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.

There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends.

There I went again, building up a glamorous picture of a man who would love me passionately the minute he met me, and all out of a few prosy nothings.

People were made of nothing so much as dust, and I couldn't see that doctoring all that dust was any bit better than writing poems people would remember and repeat to themselves when they were unhappy or sick and couldn't sleep.

The only thing I could think of was turkey neck and turkey gizzards and I felt very depressed.

It was a face that needed soap and water and Christian tolerance.

"I'm writing a novel," I said. "I haven't got time to change out of this and change into that."

They understood things of the spirit in Japan.
They disemboweled themselves when anything went wrong.


Stezie88 said...

No "I am, I am, I am"? Disappointing :)

Anonymous said...

I personally loved "lady, I gotta live like you and everybody else." That cab driver was awesome.