12 Sylvia Plath Quotes That Every Smart Girl Should Know

Tuesday, October 27 would have been Sylvia Plath's 83rd birthday, had she been around to celebrate it. Unfortunately, Plath committed suicide in 1963. She was 30 years old. But don't fret. Yes, the author is gone, but her writing legacy remains. Plath's poems, prose, and personal journals — many of which were posthumously published — give us the opportunity to look in on her creative process, her home life, and her mental illness.

It's this last point that has fascinated readers and biographers for decades. But, in the search for answers about her suicide, Plath's eloquence is often overlooked, particularly in her personal writing. Sure, her poetry won the 1982 Pulitzer, and everyone knows The Bell Jar, but few are familiar with Plath's journals.

Published in 2000, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath paint a portrait of the author as conflicted, inhibited, and aspiring. Cynicism intermingles with hope in those pages, and Plath emerges, not as a woman who wrote a few hits, but as a deeply intelligent person, limited by her environment and looking for an escape.

Every smart woman can draw inspiration from Plath's work. Her words still resonate today, more than 50 years after her death. In honor of her birthday, here are 12 Plath quotes you should keep close to heart.

"When they asked me what I wanted to be I said I didn’t know."Oh, sure you know," the photographer said."She wants," said Jay Cee wittily, "to be everything."

The Bell Jar

Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

But in twenty-five years she'll be silver,In fifty, gold.A living doll, everywhere you look.It can sew, it can cook,It can talk, talk, talk.

— "The Applicant"

I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? 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.

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Perhaps some day I'll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

I felt wise and cynical as all hell.

The Bell Jar

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Out of the ash I rise with my red hairand I eat men like air.

— "Lady Lazarus"

If they substituted the word 'Lust' for 'Love' in the popular songs it would come nearer the truth.

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

So much working, reading, thinking, living to do! A lifetime is not long enough.

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

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