Every Woman Should Read “The Bell Jar”

Photo of myself, sat outside in the sunshine reading a copy of The Bell Jar with a swirling aqua and pink cover.

“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 Europe and Africa and South America […] 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.”.

— Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

“That’s one of the reasons I never wanted to get married. The last thing I wanted was infinite security […] I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the coloured arrows from a fourth of July rocket.”

— Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

“I want someone to tell me what to wear in the morning. I want someone to tell me what to wear every morning. I want someone to tell me what to eat. What to like, what to hate, what to rage about, what to listen to, what band to like, what to buy tickets for, what to joke about, what not to joke about. I want someone to tell me what to believe in, who to vote for, who to love and how to tell them.

“I just think I want someone to tell me how to live my life, Father, because so far I think I’ve been getting it wrong, […] I know that scientifically nothing I do makes any difference in the end anyway, I’m still scared. Why am I still scared?”

- Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

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