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The Bell Jar Quotes

20 of the best book quotes from The Bell Jar
  1. #1
    “This hotel – the Amazon – was for women only, and they were mostly girls my age with wealthy parents [...] and they were all going to posh secretarial schools like Katy Gibbs, where they had to wear hats and stockings and gloves to class, or they had just graduated from places like Katy Gibbs and were secretaries to executives and junior executives and simply hanging around in New York waiting to get married to some career man or other.”
  2. #2
    “My trouble was I took everything Buddy Willard told me as the honest-to-God truth.”
  3. #3
    “All I’d heard about, really, was how fine and clean Buddy was and how he was the kind of person a girl should stay fine and clean for.”
  4. #4
    “Of course, our mothers were good friends. They had gone to school together and then both married their professors and settled down in the same town.”
  5. #5
    “The woman’s stomach stuck up so high I couldn’t see her face or the upper part of her body at all. She seemed to have nothing but an enormous spider-fat stomach and two little ugly spindly legs propped in the high stirrups and all the time the baby was being born she never stopped making this unhuman whooping noise.”
  6. #6
    ″‘I hate her,’ I said, and waited for the blow to fall.
    But Doctor Nolan only smiled at me as if something had pleased her very, very much and said, ‘I suppose you do.‘”
  1. #7
    “I felt myself melting into the shadows like the negative of a person I’d never seen before in my life.”
  2. #8
    “The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way. I wanted to dictate my own thrilling letters.”
  3. #9
    “I started adding up all the things I couldn’t do [...] I felt dreadfully inadequate [...] The one thing I was good at was winning scholarships and prizes, and that era was coming to an end.”
  4. #10
    “The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.”
  5. #11
    “I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullaballoo.”
  6. #12
    “Doreen had intuition. Everything she said was like a secret voice speaking straight out of my own bones.”

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  1. #13
    “I felt myself shrinking to a small black dot [...] I felt like a hole in the ground.”
  2. #14
    “I was surprised to see a woman. I didn’t think they had woman psychiatrists. This woman was a cross between Myrna Loy and my mother.”
  3. #15
    “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.”
  4. #16
    ″‘I don’t really know,’ I heard myself say. I felt a deep shock hearing myself say that, because the minute I said it, I knew it was true.”
  5. #17
    “It’s like watching Paris from an express caboose heading in the opposite direction – every second the city gets smaller and smaller, only you feel it’s really you getting smaller and smaller and lonelier and lonelier.”
  6. #18
    “But I wasn’t getting married. There ought, I thought, to be a ritual for being born twice – patched, retreaded, and approved for the road, I was trying to think of an appropriate one when Doctor Nolan appeared from nowhere and touched me on the shoulder.”
  7. #19
    “I lay, trying to slow the beating of my heart, as every beat pushed forth another gush of blood.”
  8. #20
    “I knew something was wrong with me that summer ...all the little successes I’d totted up so happily at college fizzled to nothing outside the slick marble and plate-glass fronts along Madison Avenue.
    I was supposed to be having the time of my life.”

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