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"Nelly and I always wanted a daughter. For one crazy moment I thought Mr. Willard was going to announce that Mrs.Willard was pregnant and expecting a baby girl. Then he said 'But I don't see how any daughter could be nicer than you' "
Page 88, 3rd paragraph
" 'I'm going up, I said. 'I'm going to do it again. No, you're not.
A queer, satisfied expression came over Buddy's face. No you're not. He repeated with a final smile. You're leg is broken in two places. You'll be stuck in a cast for months"
Bottom of page 98
"Buddy rummaged among his papers in a businesslike way. Then he handed me a thin, gray magazine. "Turn to page eleven." The magazine was printed somewhere in Maine and full of stenciled poems and descriptive paragraphs separated for each other by asterisks. On page eleven I found a poem titled Florida Dawn. I skipped down through image after image about watermelon lights and turtle-green palms and shells fluted like bits of greek architecture. "Not bad." I thought it was dreadful. "who wrote it" Buddy asked. My eye dropped to the name on the lower right-hand corner og the page. B. S. Willard. "I don't know." Then I said, of corse i know, Buddy you wrote it."
Bottom of page 91 and top of 92
''I thought if only I could persuade my mother to get me out of the hospital I could work on her sympathies, like that boy with brain disease in the play, and convince her what was the best thing to do. To my surprise my mother said, ''all right, I'll try to get you out- even if only to a better place. If I try to get you out,'' she laid a hand on my knee,''promise you'll be good?'' I spun around and glared straight at Doctor Syphilis, who stood at my elbow takin notes on a tiny, almost invisible pad. ''I promise,'' I said in a loud, conspicuous voice.
Bottom of page 169 and top of 170
“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 by myself like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.”
Here she explains why she doesn’t want to be married, and how she wants to stay independent and how she despises the thought of having to cook meals and doing laundry all day.
“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.”
I think this really explains the symbol of the Bell Jar. It also explains the way Esther Greenwood feels, and what the book is built up around. She’s saying she’s stuck, trapped inside herself. She feels like she’s on display for the entire world, vulnerable and exposed and she hates it. She also mentions that no matter how far she runs or what she does she’s never going to escape this “bell jar”.
Another quote that caught my attention and made me think twice about what it meant was: “To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream.”
This quotation comes from the last chapter of the novel, in which Esther attempts to draw some conclusions about the experiences she has gone through. Her mother says they should treat her disease like bad dreams she can forget, but as she mentions later she remembers everything, which she explains in another quite remarkable quote; “Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind snow, should numb and cover them. But they were a part of me. They were my landscape.” She’s explaining how it’s not possible to erase the memories because they’re a part of her.
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