I knew I should be grateful to Mrs Guinea, only I couldn’t feel a thing. If Mrs Guinea had given me ticket to Europe, or a round-the-world cruise, it wouldn’t have made one scrap of difference to me, 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
The stones lay lumpish and cold under my bare feet. I thought longingly of the black shoes on the beach. A wave drew back, like a hand, then advanced and touched my foot.
The drench seemed to come off the sea floor itself, where blind white fish ferried themselves by their own light through the great polar cold. I saw shark’s teeth and whale’s earbones littered about down there like gravestones.
I waited, as if the sea could make my decision for me.
A second wave collapsed over my feet, lipped with white froth, and the chill gripped my ankles with a mortal ache.
My flesh winced, in cowardice, from such a death.
I picked up my pocket-book and started back over the cold stones to where my shoes kept their vigil in the violet light.
But when it came right down to it, the skin of my wrist looked so white and defenceless that I couldn’t do it. It was as if what I wanted to kill wasn’t in that skin or the thin blue pulse that jumped under my thumb, but somewhere else, deeper, more secret, and a whole lot harder to get at.
— Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar