20 Quotes From Sylvia Plath

In honour of what would be Sylvia Plath’s 81st birthday on Sunday, here are some of the saddest, loveliest, truest words ever written by her. posted on

1.

“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously near to wanting nothing.”

- Draft of letter to Richard Sassoon

2.

“God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of ‘parties’ with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter – they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. Yes, there is joy, fulfillment and companionship – but the loneliness of the soul in its appalling self-consciousness is horrible and overpowering.”

- The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

3.

“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.”

- The Bell Jar

4.

“Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.”

- The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

5.

“The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence. I knew perfectly well the cars were making a noise, and the people in them and behind the lit windows of the buildings were making a noise, and the river was making a noise, but I couldn’t hear a thing. The city hung in my window, flat as a poster, glittering and blinking, but it might just as well not have been there at all, for the good it did me.”

- The Bell Jar

6.

“Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that – I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much – so very much to learn.”

- The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

7.

“If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.”

- The Bell Jar

8.

“With me, the present is forever, and forever is always shifting, flowing, melting. This second is life. And when it is gone it is dead. But you can’t start over with each new second. You have to judge by what is dead. It’s like quicksand… hopeless from the start.”

- The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

9.

“I like people too much or not at all. I’ve got to go down deep, to fall into people, to really know them.”

- The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

10.

“I thought it sounded just like the sort of drug a man would invent. Here was a woman in terrible pain, obviously feeling every bit of it or she wouldn’t groan like that, and she would go straight home and start another baby, because the drug would make her forget how bad the pain had been, when all the time, in some secret part of her, that long, blind, doorless and windowless corridor of pain was waiting to open up and shut her in again.”

- The Bell Jar

11.

“We should meet in another life, we should meet in air,
Me and you.”

- Lesbos

12.

“Yes, my consuming desire is to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, barroom regulars—to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording—all this is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always supposedly in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yes, God, I want to talk to everybody as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night.”

- The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

13.

“ I am terrified by this dark thing
That sleeps in me;
All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.”

- Elm

14.

“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.”

- The Bell Jar

15.

“I write only because
There is a voice within me
That will not be still.”

- Letters Home: Correspondence, 1950 – 1963

16.

“If they substituted the word ‘Lust’ for ‘Love’ in the popular songs it would come nearer the truth.”

- The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

17.

“There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.”

- The Bell Jar

18.

“To annihilate the world by annihilation of oneself is the deluded height of desperate egoism. The simple way out of all the little brick dead ends we scratch our nails against.”

- The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

19.

“What horrifies me most is the idea of being useless: well-educated, brilliantly promising, and fading out into an indifferent middle age.”

- The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

20.

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

- The Bell Jar

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