Women of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar

Mrs. Willard

“I had a picture of Mrs. Willard, with her heather-mixture tweeds and her sensible shoes and her wise, maternal maxims,” (Plath 218).


“‘What a man wants is a mate and what a woman wants is infinite security…What a man is is an arrow into the future and what a woman is is a place the arrow shoots off from,’” (Plath 72).


“…I knew Mrs. Willard was a real fanatic about virginity for men and women both. When I first went to her house for supper she gave me a queer, shrewd, searching look, and I knew she was trying to tell whether I was a virgin or not,” (Plath 71).



Jay Cee

“Then she slipped a suit jacket over her lilac blouse…powdered her nose briefly and adjusted her thick spectacles. She looked terrible, but very wise,” (Plath 39).


‘“You ought to read French and German,” Jay Cee said mercilessly, “and probably several other languages as well, Spanish and Italian – better still, Russian. Hundreds of girls flood into New York every June thinking they’ll be editors. You need offer something more than the run-of-the-mill person. You better learn some languages,”’ (Plath 33).


“Jay Cee was going to lunch that noon with two famous writers, a man and a lady. The man had just sold six short stories to the New Yorker and six to Jay Cee…Jay Cee said she had to be careful at this lunch, because the lady write wrote stories too, but she had never had any in the New Yorker…Jay Cee had to flatter the more famous man at the same time as she was careful not to hurt the less famous lady,” (Plath 39).


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