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23 Sylvia Plath Quotes that Are Painful and Brilliant at the Same Time
Sylvia Plath Quotes

23 Sylvia Plath Quotes that Are Painful and Brilliant at the Same Time

Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963) was an admired American poet and novelist. Her works explore themes such as self, death and nature, and are closely tied to her personal experience.

Plath showed early promise as a writer and published her first poem at the age of eight. Her remarkable talent allowed her to enter and win a series of literary contests, and later become a renowned author for works such as Daddy, LadyLazarus and The Bell Jar.

Plath achieved considerable artistic and social success, but the inspiration behind it came from the anxiety, confusion, and doubt that haunted her. Over the years, Sylvia suffered from severe depression, attempted suicide, and underwent a period of psychiatric hospitalization.

Sylvia tried to fight her inner demons — she got married out of love, had two children and continued writing while having a full time job. However, her depression returned after her marriage had ended. She now lived alone and had to take care of two small children while on the edge of another breakdown. On 11 February 1963, Sylvia killed herself.  

In 1982, Plath was the first to posthumously receive the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Here are 23 Sylvia Plath quotes that are painful and brilliant at the same time.

I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.

If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.

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

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.

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


You have to be able to make a real creative life for yourself, before you can expect anyone else to provide one ready-made for you.

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

Why the hell are we conditioned into the smooth strawberry-and-cream Mother-Goose-world, Alice-in-Wonderland fable, only to be broken on the wheel as we grow older and become aware of ourselves as individuals with a dull responsibility in life?

What horrifies me most is the idea of being useless: well-educated, brilliantly promising, and fading out into an indifferent middle age.

The hardest thing is to live richly in the present without letting it be tainted out of fear for the future or regret for the past.

The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.

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

What did my fingers do before they held him

I know pretty much what I like and dislike; but please, don’t ask me who I am.

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

If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression Of something beautiful, but annihilating.

When you give someone your whole heart and he doesn’t want it, you cannot take it back. It’s gone forever.

Why can't I try on different lives, like dresses, to see which one fits me and is most becoming?

And there's the fallacy of existence: the idea that one could be happy forever and age with a given situation or series of accomplishments.

I too want to be important. By being different. And these girls are all the same.

And by the way, everything in life is writeable if you have the outgoing guts to do it. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

I must bridge the gap between adolescent glitter and mature glow.

I may never be happy, but tonight I am content.

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