What do you think?
Rate this book
294 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1963
"My heroine would be myself, only in disguise. She would be called Elaine. Elaine. I counted the letters on my fingers. There were six letters in Esther, too. It seemed a lucky thing."
"I saw the years of my life spaced along a road in the form of telephone poles, threaded together by wires. I counted one, two, three...nineteen telephone poles, and then the wires dangled into space, and try as I would, I couldn’t see a single pole beyond the nineteenth."
It stuck in a barb wire snare.I don't say I wouldn't read these authors or even enjoy their works - I love Oscar Wilde and certain Roald Dahl books - but I think knowing who an author was, the kind of views they held obviously informs their works, and that is important even if I decide to separate art from the artist.
ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak
I thought every German was you. And the language obscene.
An Engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a jew.
A jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen
I began to talk like a jew
I think I may well be a jew.
“The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own silence."
I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? ...we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.
— Franz Kafka; January 27, 1904
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. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor… and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was... (Chapter 7)
The trouble was, I had been inadequate all along, I simply hadn't thought about it.
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.
I couldn’t stand the idea of a woman having to have a single pure life and a man being able to have a double life, one pure and one not.
Whether she knew it or not, Philomena Guinea was buying my freedom. “What I hate is the thought of being under a man’s thumb,” I had told Doctor Nolan. “A man doesn’t have a worry in the world, while I’ve got a baby hanging over my head like a big stick, to keep me in line.”
The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way. I wanted to dictate my own thrilling letters.
وكانت فكرة أن أقتل نفسي قد رسخت في عقلي بهدوء مثل شجرة أو زهرة
-أتعرفين ما هي القصيدة يا إستر؟
-لا ، ما القصيدة؟
-إنها شيء من الغبار
لا شيء يوطّد عرى صداقتك مع شخص آخر أكثر من التقيؤ في حضوره
أكره الأفلام الملونة حيث يبدو كل شخص وكأنه مضطر لارتداء أزياء رهيبة في كل مشهد جديد
والوقوف في الجوار كمنشر الغسيل
I felt dreadfully inadequate. The trouble was, I had been inadequate all along, I simply hadn't thought about it... I felt like a racehorse in a world without racetracks or a champion college footballer suddenly confronted by Wall Street and a business suit, his days of glory shrunk to a little gold cup on his mantel with a date engraved on it like the date on a tombstone.No self-pity or depressing delusions, just plain simple confession which born out of the realization after an official entry into the real world. The Bell Jar is about Esther Greenwood but I would like to view that name as some sort of anagram which encompasses everyone of us within it, maybe not in its entirety but in bits and parts. In all likelihood, nothing is there in a name and surely I can’t speak for everyone else but I know that there’s something in the writing style of Sylvia which holds the power of drawing readers in her tale and no matter how much one tries to break free from her words (because they hurt!) it’s almost impossible to do so. Esther made me laugh with her honest descriptions of the world and the people around her. She made me her accomplice in her jokes and in her secrets and she made me empathized with her and her plights but at the same time, I was grateful that she was able to share her pain without appearing miserable or demanding any form of solace. She is. She is. She is. That’s how I cheered for her.
"Quizás cuando sintamos que queremos tenerlo todo, será porque estamos en peligro de estar cerca de no querer nada."