sylvia plath

Taking Issue with Sylvia Plath


by Jeph Johnson


"If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed." ―Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Instead of trying to avoid disappointment, and looking at the jar as half empty, try seeing the jar as half full: Let's build up and encourage admirability in our loved ones by using positive assertion, rather than discouraging them by recommending passive ignorance.


Without some basic expectations, attributes like trust, promise, possibility, hope, respect, honor and commitment are impossible.


If it weren't for there being such a vague definition of love, I would venture to say that indeed love would be impossible too. Sylvia Plath's depression and inability to feel loved influenced her decision to kill herself.


“I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep my expectations.” ―Bill Watterson

All too often we often choose "easy" over "fulfilling" and find in the end that our lives had little purpose.


“There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations” ―Jodi Picoult

Yet there is one way to make those around you happy: improve their reality by raising the expectations you have of yourself.


“If you're going to say what you want to say, you're going to hear what you don't want to hear.” ―Roberto Bolaño

Ain't it the truth!


I would like to add that I believe Sylvia Plath was a great poet, but I don't think she should have used a Bell Jar as her metaphor. A simple glass would have sufficed.

Author's Notes/Comments: 


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For Sylvia




She ran to Daddy when the Phoenix didn’t rise,

Lazarus’ driving breath sweetly lingering still. 

Tulips for a boldfaced type and

blooming skirts,


Our eyes and expressions on a water diet 

but continue growing till they burst 

springing forth a hive mind. 


Writing the world an effigy

in bells resounding, 

loves high chord gone dark

leaving shadows to cry after

the perfection terrible.


Always a soulful child

[too pure is the pill 

killing thinly]

with aerial views of bluest skies 

resembling the moon,

boring as eternity has been and


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