The Bell Jar

by littlesarahbigworld

Just finished it.

And here are my most favorite quotes:

“Only I wasn’t steering anything, not even myself. I just bumped from my hotel to work and to parties and from parties to my hotel and back to work like a numb trolley-bus. I guess I should have been excited the way most of the other girls were, but I couldn’t get myself to react. I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.” (This is an apt description of how I felt the first month or so in Madrid)

“The floor seemed wonderfully solid. It was comforting to know that I had fallen and could fall no further.”

“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.”

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig-tree in the story.

From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked…and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig-tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

“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 directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.”

(If I were still an English major, I’d write a paper comparing this book with On The Road, using the quote above and Kerouac’s famous bit about “the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk,” etc. as a jumping off point. But I’m graduated now and don’t have to do shit like that anymore)

“At first I wondered why the room felt so safe. Then I realized it was because there were no windows.”

“A fresh fall of snow blanketed the asylum grounds – not a Christmas sprinkle, but a man-high January deluge, the sort that snuffs out schools and offices and churches, and leaves, for a day or more, a pure, blank sheet in place of memo pads, date books and calendars.”

The copy I borrowed came complete with notes in French