The 40 Most Memorable Sylvia Plath Quotes

Sylvia Plath was an American poet as well as a novelist and short story writer. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts on October 27, 1932 and died on February 11, 1963. Sylvia sis known for writing about real-life situations involving some taboo and controversial topics, and she became more famous after her death. She battled depression during her lifetime. Her battle became so bad that she committed suicide at the age of 30. Her best-known works are  The Colossus And Other Poems, Arial, The Bell Jar and Double Exposure. You can find her books here.

Sylvia made an impact on the literary world for her level of realism and her approach to writing from her own life experiences especially around despair, heartbreak, mental health and relationship issues. For example, she wrote about her rocky marriage to poet Ted Hughes.

She wrote four children’s books. She worked on Mademoiselle magazine in 1953. She was a guest editor on the magazine. After working on the magazine, she attempted to commit suicide. She took sleeping pills, but she eventually recovered while staying in a mental hospital.  Her mental health was an ongoing battle for her until she committed suicide. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1982  after her death for her poetry.

These quotes will give you an idea of what she has gone through in her life. She was a teacher and her quotes may teach you something about the writer as well as life. You may find yourself relating to her story and they may inspire you to revisit her books.

Sylvia Plath Quotes

1. “Maybe one day I will go back home with my tail between my legs. If I do, I will be broken and defeated. I can avoid that as long as I continue to write about my personal life.”

2. “I am scared of this evil thing that is building inside of me.”

3. “I want to be in a place where nobody I know would go.”

4. “The idea of committing suicide came to me as naturally as breathing.”

5. “My world is coming apart at the seams. Fear is what’s bringing me down. I am afraid to survive. I am scared because I am weak and not strong. I feel pain behind my eyes. I feel like nothing. I never suffered any pain. I want to end it all so I don’t have to deal with responsibilities. I want to go back to being a baby. I feel like a stranger who doesn’t know her way around. I have to be the one who makes the decisions. I wish I could get away from it all. I don’t have the strength or the faith with what it takes to be smart. There is no escape for me.”

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6. “I was told the best way to stop thinking about yourself was to put yourself in someone else’s shoes who is worse than you.”

7. “People need to feel secure. People need someone to love and keep them warm at night. You want to give your heart to someone. I need to give my heart to someone I love.”

8. “Life isn’t supposed to feel like a lazy afternoon. It was meant to be busy running wildly. You were meant to live a busy life and feel like a hamster in a cage because you are constantly running around living life.”

9. “It didn’t make a difference to me where I was physically. I could be on a ship. I could be in Paris or anywhere I desired. I would still feel down and depressed.”

10. “If you don’t love me, then love me for what I write. I would rather you love my writing than to love me. I also want you to love me for the things I write.”

11. “I tried to end it by slitting my wrists. I looked at my wrists and realized that it was so defenseless that I couldn’t go through with it. I realized what I wanted to kill wasn’t something physical in me, but something emotional. It would be harder to get to than my wrist.”

12. “It is not a good thing to be vulnerable and leave yourself open emotionally. It felt as if my heart was exposed for the world to see.”

13. “I have two choices in life. I can choose to be active and happy or passive and miserable. I also have the option to bounce in between the two.”

14. “There aren’t too many things that a hot bath can’t fix.”

15. “If you don’t want to be let down, stop expecting things from people.”

16. “You can write about anything if you have the courage and the imagination to do it. The worse thing you can do is doubt yourself and your ability to write.”

17. “If we find ourselves wanting everything in life, it is because we are too close to having nothing.”

18. “When I go to sleep, the world doesn’t exist. When I wake up, it’s back again.”

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19. “I cripple myself emotionally because I think too much.”

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20. “If it is neurotic to want different things at the same time, then you can call me neurotic. I will go back and forth between the different things I want for the rest of my life.”

21. “Silence is depressing. It wasn’t the idea of silence. It was the fact that I was silent.”

22. “I want things that will end up hurting me.”

23. “Being vulnerable with someone is the best way to bond with someone.”

24. “When I was asked what I wanted to be, I said I wasn’t able to answer the question. I was told that I wanted to be everything I could be.”

25. “I may come off gullible and naïve because I know my likes and dislikes. I have a request. Please don’t question me about who I think I am.”

26. “Dying is no different from any other skill. I do it well just like everything else I do. Dying feels real to me. I think it is my true calling.”

27. “I don’t care for people and the reverse is obviously true.”

28. “I have never found a person who could accept me for who I am and love me as much as I love others.”

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29. “I don’t know what I did in life before you came along.”

30. “I don’t want to be like everyone else. I want to be unique. I see that the other girls are the same and I don’t want to be like that.”

31. “Life proves to be unfair because I was supposed to be having fun, but I’m not.”

32. “So many people hold their feelings inside like a box until someone comes along and helps them open up to them.”

33. “There was no reason for me to wake up in the morning because I had no purpose in life.”

34. “I never understood why I had the urge to cry. I did know that whenever people spoke to me or looked at me in the wrong way, the urge to cry became intense.”

35. “I am a writer because I have something in me that won’t stay quiet.”

36. “I don’t need a celebration. I just want to lay in my casket peacefully and be free.”

37. “I am afraid to try new things. I feel as if I may end up alone if I try something new and fail.”

38. “Being married to him is like being a character in a book. He has the biggest imagination of anyone I have ever known. I could stay in his mind for the rest of my life.”

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39. “If people used the word lust instead of love in songs today, it would be more truthful.”

40. “Where were my fingers before he came along to hold my hand? Who did my heart love before he came into my life?”

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Sylvia Plath Video

Explore the haunting and intimate works of poet Sylvia Plath, who digs into issues of mental health, trauma and sexuality in works like The Bell Jar.

With a shrewd eye and pen, Sylvia Plath turned everyday objects into haunting images: a “new statue in a drafty museum,” a shadow in a mirror, a slab of soap.

Her breathtaking perspectives and unflinching language made her a touchstone for readers seeking to break the silence around issues of trauma, frustration and sexuality. Iseult Gillespie shares why Plath’s writing continues to captivate.

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Sylvia Plath’s quotes were real and her fans related to them. She wasn’t like other poets who wrote about odd topics. She wrote about real-life situations that she was dealing with at the time.

She didn’t mince words about what she was going through in her personal life. This type of writing made it easy for her fans to appreciate her work. She wrote her poems years ago, but they are still relatable today. People are still going through the things she has gone through so her work is still relevant years after her death.

These quotes may help new readers get an understanding of the kind of writer she was in her time and inspire you to re-read her writings.

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Image Credit: Megalit, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

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