Introspective Quotes by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath (1932 – 1963) has achieved cult-like status as a major American poet. Ambitious, brilliant, and beautiful, she was cursed with a lifelong struggle with depression that led to suicide at the age of thirty.

Because most of her work was published after her untimely death, she wasn’t alive to enjoy very many of the fruits of her labors. But her place in the American literary canon is secure and well deserved.

Her poetry as well as her journals are frank and revelatory about her personal life and innermost thoughts. Passages from her journals reveal her attempts to balance nagging self-doubt with a hunger to write and create. Here are introspective quotes by Sylvia Plath from a variety of sources.

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

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“I desire the things which will destroy me in the end.”

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

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

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“What I fear most, I think, is the death of the imagination.”

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“I have done, this year, what I said I would: overcome my fear of facing a blank page day after day, acknowledging myself, in my deepest emotions, a writer, come what may.”

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“To look at her, you might not guess that inside she is laughing and crying, at her own stupidities and luckiness, and at the strange enigmatic ways of the world which she will spend lifetime trying to learn and understand.”

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“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.”

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“I talk to God but the sky is empty.”

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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Quotes from The Bell Jar

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

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“I must be lean & write & make worlds beside this to live in.”

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

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“Here I am, a bundle of past recollections and future dreams, knotted up in a reasonably attractive bundle of flesh. I remember what this flesh has gone through; I dream of what it may go through.”

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“Why do we electrocute men for murdering an individual and then pin a purple heart on them for mass slaughter of someone arbitrarily labeled ‘enemy?'”

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“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.”

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

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“Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.”

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

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

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Poet Sylvia Plath

Plath’s Suicide Note: Death Knell, or a Cry for Help?

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From The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

“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.”

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

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“I want to write because I have the urge to excel in one medium of translation and expression of life. I can’t be satisfied with the colossal job of merely living. Oh, no, I must order life in sonnets and sestinas and provide a verbal reflector for my 60-watt lighted head.”

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Sylvia plath on writer's block

Sylvia Plath’s struggles with self-doubt

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“If I have a dry spell…I wait and live harder, eyes, ears, and heart open, and when the productive time comes, it is that much richer.”

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“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.”

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“Good to know that if I ever need attention all I have to do is die.”

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

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

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

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

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“I want to taste glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of non-feeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and to think; to think and to live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight new understanding, and new love.”

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“Perhaps some day I’ll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.”

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“I must get my soul back from you; I am killing my flesh without it.”

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