FOR ALL AGES

125+ Sylvia Plath Quotes From The Pioneering Confessional Poet

Sylvia Plath 'The Bell Jar' quotes showcase some of her finest work.

Sylvia Plath is a highly renowned poet and writer in the literature community.

Sylvia Plath is celebrated for her raw, confessional style of writing. Sylvia Plath quotes will give you an insight into her incredibly honest emotions.

Best known for ‘The Bell Jar’, and poems like 'Daddy' and 'Lady Lazarus', Sylvia Plath did not hold back when writing about her experiences with mental illness. We have compiled a list of the best quotes by Sylvia Plath for you.

We have over 125 wonderful Sylvia Plath quotes to inspire you. If you like these quotes, check out 'The Bell Jar' quotes and Alice Walker quotes.

Sylvia Plath Quotes From The Bell Jar

These are some quotes from the iconic ‘The Bell Jar’.

1. “I thought how strange it had never occurred to me before that I was only purely happy until I was nine years old.”

- Sylvia Plath, ‘The Bell Jar’.

2. “To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream.”

- Sylvia Plath, ‘The Bell Jar’.

3. “The bell jar hung, suspended, a few feet above my head. I was open to the circulating air.”

- Sylvia Plath, ‘The Bell Jar’.

4. “How did I know that someday  — at college, in Europe, somewhere, anywhere – the bell jar, with its stifling distortions, wouldn’t descend again?”

- Sylvia Plath, ‘The Bell Jar’.

5. “It was my first big chance, but here I was, sitting back and letting it run through my fingers like so much water.”

- Sylvia Plath, ‘The Bell Jar’.

6. “I want to be important. By being different. And these girls are all the same.”

- Sylvia Plath, ‘The Bell Jar’.

7. “There ought, I thought, to be a ritual for being born twice — patched, retreaded and approved for the road.”

- Sylvia Plath, ‘The Bell Jar’.

8. “Because wherever I sat—on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok—I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.”

- Sylvia Plath, ‘The Bell Jar’.

9. “I wondered why I couldn’t go the whole way doing what I should any more. This made me sad and tired.”

- Sylvia Plath, ‘The Bell Jar’.

10. “The trouble was, I had been inadequate all along, I simply hadn't thought about it.”

- Sylvia Plath, ‘The Bell Jar’.

11. “My mother said the cure for thinking too much about yourself was helping somebody who was worse off than you.”

- Sylvia Plath, ‘The Bell Jar’.

Sylvia Plath Quotes That You Can Caption

Similar to the iconic 'self-doubt' Sylvia Plath quote, here are some other quotes by her that you can use as captions.

12. “Love life day by day, color by color, touch by touch.”

- Sylvia Plath.

13. “I must get my soul back from you…”

- Sylvia Plath.

14. “I do not know who I am, where I am going – and I am the one who has to decide the answers to these hideous questions.”

- Sylvia Plath.

15. “I am not cruel, only truthful.”

- Sylvia Plath.

16. “All I want is blackness. Blackness and silence.”

- Sylvia Plath.

17. “Intoxicated with madness, I'm in love with my sadness.”

- Sylvia Plath.

18. “I felt like a racehorse in a world without racetracks.”

- Sylvia Plath.

19. “I think I made you up inside my head.”

- Sylvia Plath.

20. “I dream too much, work too little.”

- Sylvia Plath.

21. “Ready for a new life.”

- Sylvia Plath.

22. “It is awful to want to go away and to want to go nowhere.”

- Sylvia Plath.

23. “August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”

- Sylvia Plath.

24. “What have I eaten? Lies and smiles.”

- Sylvia Plath.

25. “I may never be happy, but tonight I am content.”

- Sylvia Plath.

26. “Character is fate.”

- Sylvia Plath.

27. “I am a victim of introspection.”

- Sylvia Plath.

28. “Poetry at its best can do you a lot of harm.”

- Sylvia Plath.

29. “I don’t care about anyone, and the feeling is quite obviously mutual.”

- Sylvia Plath.

30. “If you love her”, I said, “you'll love somebody else someday.”

- Sylvia Plath.

31. “I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow.”

- Sylvia Plath.

32. “Is anyone anywhere happy?”

- Sylvia Plath.

33. “You are a dream; I hope I never meet you.”

- Sylvia Plath.

34. “Not being perfect hurts.”

- Sylvia Plath.

35. “Eternity bores me, I never wanted it.”

- Sylvia Plath.

36. “Wear your heart on your skin in this life.”

- Sylvia Plath.

Poetic Sylvia Plath Quotes

These are some of Sylvia Plath's most poetic quotes.

37. “See, the darkness is leaking from the cracks. I cannot contain it. I cannot contain my life.”

- Sylvia Plath.

38. “It is so much safer not to feel, not to let the world touch me.”

- Sylvia Plath.

39. “But life is long. And it is the long run that balances the short flare of interest and passion.”

- Sylvia Plath.

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

- Sylvia Plath.

41. “I like people too much or not at all.”

- Sylvia Plath.

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

- Sylvia Plath.

43. “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.”

- Sylvia Plath.

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

- Sylvia Plath.

45. “Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.”

- Sylvia Plath.

46. “I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between.”

- Sylvia Plath.

47. “I talk to God but the sky is empty.”

- Sylvia Plath.

48. “It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous positive and despairing negative - whichever is running at the moment dominates my life, floods it.”

- Sylvia Plath.

49. “The frost makes a flower, the dew makes a star.”

- Sylvia Plath.

50. “I think I'm in love with missing you more than I'm in love with you.”

- Sylvia Plath.

51. “And so it seems I must always write you letters that I can never send.”

- Sylvia Plath.

52. “What did my heart do, with its love?”

- Sylvia Plath.

53. “I do not know who I am tonight.”

- Sylvia Plath.

Funniest Sylvia Plath Quotes

Here are a few humorous and relatable quotes from Sylvia Plath.

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

- Sylvia Plath.

55. “Mountains terrify me — they just sit about; they are so proud.”

- Sylvia Plath.

56. “Didn't you know I'm going to be the greatest, most entertaining author and artist in the world? Well, don't feel badly; I didn't either!”

- Sylvia Plath.

57. “If I didn’t think, I’d be much happier.”

- Sylvia Plath.

58. “I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.”

- Sylvia Plath.

59. “I think writers are the most narcissistic people. Well, I mustn’t say this, I like many of them, a great many of my friends are writers.”

- Sylvia Plath.

60. “If I tried to describe my personality, I’d start to gush about living by the ocean half my life and being brought up on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and believing in magic for years and years.”

- Sylvia Plath.

61. “It's a hell of a responsibility to be yourself. It's much easier to be somebody else.”

- Sylvia Plath.

Melancholic Sylvia Plath Quotes

These are some of Sylvia Plath's saddest quotes.

62. “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.

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

- Sylvia Plath.

64. “I write only because

There is a voice within me

That will not be still.”

- Sylvia Plath.

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

- Sylvia Plath.

66.  “I am terrified by this dark thing

That sleeps in me;

All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.”

- Sylvia Plath.

67. “Life has been a combination of fairy-tale coincidence and joie de vivre and shocks of beauty together with some hurtful self-questioning.”

- Sylvia Plath.

68. “I couldn't see the point of getting up. I had nothing to look forward to.”

- Sylvia Plath.

69. “I felt myself melting into the shadows like the negative of a person I'd never seen before in my life.”

- Sylvia Plath.

70. “I feel outcast on a cold star, unable to feel anything but an awful helpless numbness.”

- Sylvia Plath.

Inspiring Sylvia Plath Quotes

Read through these inspirational Sylvia Plath quotes.

71. “I pass by people, grazing them on the edges, and it bothers me. I've got to admire someone to really like them deeply - to value them as friends.”

- Sylvia Plath.

72. “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.”

- Sylvia Plath.

73. “I have never found anybody who could stand to accept the daily demonstrative love I feel in me, and give back as good as I give.”

- Sylvia Plath.

74. “So many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes, yet they would open up, unfolding quite wonderfully, if only you were interested in them.”

- Sylvia Plath.

75. “I was supposed to be having the time of my life.”

- Sylvia Plath.

76. “I am a writer… I am a genius of a writer; I have it in me. I am writing the best poems of my life; they will make my name.”

- Sylvia Plath.

77. “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.”

- Sylvia Plath.

78. “What I want back is what I was.”

- Sylvia Plath.

79. “A little thing, like children putting flowers in my hair, can fill up the widening cracks in my self-assurance like soothing lanolin.”

- Sylvia Plath.

80. “Everybody had to go to some college or other. A business college, a junior college, a state college, a secretarial college, an Ivy League college, a pig farmer’s college. The book first, then the work.”

- Sylvia Plath.

81. “Go out and do something. It isn’t your room that’s a prison, it’s yourself.”

- Sylvia Plath.

82. “Please don’t expect me to always be good and kind and loving. There are times when I will be cold and thoughtless and hard to understand.”

- Sylvia Plath.

The Best Sylvia Plath Quotes

Sylvia Plath was known to be incredibly dynamic with her style of writing.

Some of the greatest Sylvia Plath quotes are given below.

83. “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.

84. “So much working, reading, thinking, living to do! A lifetime is not long enough.”

- Sylvia Plath.

85. “I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again.”

- Sylvia Plath.

86. “How we need another soul to cling to.”

- Sylvia Plath.

87. “I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.”

- Sylvia Plath.

88. “What did my arms do before they held you?”

- Sylvia Plath.

89. “I have stitched life into me like a rare organ.”

- Sylvia Plath.

90. “If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression of something beautiful, but annihilating.”    

- Sylvia Plath.

91. “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”  

92. “Perfection is terrible, it cannot have children.”    

- Sylvia Plath.

93. “One should be able to control and manipulate experiences with an informed and intelligent mind.”    

- Sylvia Plath.

94. “When you give someone your whole heart and he doesn't want it, you cannot take it back. It's gone forever.”  

- Sylvia Plath.

95. “Doing all the little tricky things it takes to grow up, step by step, into an anxious and unsettling world.”    

- Sylvia Plath.

96. “I am made, crudely, for success.”

- Sylvia Plath.

97. “The abstract kills, the concrete saves.”

- Sylvia Plath.

98. “I could never be a complete scholar or a complete housewife or a complete writer: I must combine a little of all, and thereby be imperfect in all.”

- Sylvia Plath.

99. “Why can’t I try on different lives, like dresses, to see which fits best and is most becoming?”

- Sylvia Plath.

100. “You have to be able to make a real creative life for yourself, before you can expect anyone else to provide one ready-made for you.”

- Sylvia Plath.

101. “Security to us is in ourselves, and no job, or even money, can give us what we have to develop: faith in our work, and hard hard work, which is Spartan in many ways.”

- Sylvia Plath.

102. “I know pretty much what I like and dislike; but please, don’t ask me who I am.”

- Sylvia Plath.

103. “The hardest thing, I think, is to live richly in the present, without letting it be tainted and spoiled out of fear for the future or regret for a badly managed past.”

- Sylvia Plath.

104. “Freedom is not of use to those who do not know how to employ it.”

- Sylvia Plath.

Thought-Provoking Sylvia Plath Quotes

Here are some insightful Plath quotes.

105. “I love people. Everybody. I love them, I think, as a stamp collector loves his collection. Every story, every incident, every bit of conversation is raw material.”

- Sylvia Plath.

106. “When you are insane, you are busy being insane — all the time.”

- Sylvia Plath.

107. “Poetry, I feel, is a tyrannical discipline. You've got to go so far so fast in such a small space; you've got to burn away all the peripherals.”

- Sylvia Plath.

108. “I saw the gooseflesh on my skin. I did not know what made it. I was not cold. Had a ghost passed over? No, it was the poetry.

- Sylvia Plath.

109. “What a man is is an arrow into the future, and what a woman is is the place the arrow shoots off from.”

- Sylvia Plath.

110. “It seems this is an age of clever critics who keep bewailing the fact that there are no works worthy of criticism.”

- Sylvia Plath.

111. “Aloneness and selfness are too important to betray for company.”

- Sylvia Plath.

112. “For me, poetry is an evasion of the real job of writing prose.”

- Sylvia Plath.

113. “I can't be satisfied with the colossal job of merely living.”

-Sylvia Plath

114. “Worse even than your maddening song, your silence.”

- Sylvia Plath.

115. “I am what I feel and think and do.”

- Sylvia Plath.

116. “I wish you’d find the exit out of my head.”

- Sylvia Plath.

117. “After all, we are nothing more or less than we choose to reveal.”

- Sylvia Plath.

118. “I am so busy keeping my head above water that I scarcely know who I am, much less who anyone else is.”

- Sylvia Plath.

119. “I am jealous of those who think more deeply, who write better, who draw better, who ski better, who look better, who live better, who love better than I.”

- Sylvia Plath.

120. “Sometimes I feel so stupid and dull and uncreative that I am amazed when people tell me differently.”

- Sylvia Plath.

121. “Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.”

- Sylvia Plath.

122. “Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.”

- Sylvia Plath.

123. “Is there no way out of the mind?”

- Sylvia Plath.

124. “I have a visual imagination.”

- Sylvia Plath.

125. “It is a terrible thing to be so open: it is as if my heart put on a face and walked into the world.”

- Sylvia Plath.

Our team at Kidadl has created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for you to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 125+ Sylvia Plath quotes from the pioneering confessional poet, then please take a look at Margaret Atwood quotes and 'The Yellow Wallpaper' quotes.

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The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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