être une femme / sylvia plath / journal fragments

































Can I write ? Will I write if I practice enough ? How much should I sacrifice to writing anyway, before I find out if I'm any good ? Above all, CAN A SELFISH EGOCENTRIC JEALOUS AND UNIMAGINATIVE FEMALE WRITE A DAMN THING WORTH WHILE ? Should I sublimate (my, how we throw words around !) my selfishness in serving other people - through social or other such work ? Would I then become more sensitive to other people and their problems ? Would I be able to write more honestly, then, of other beings beside a tall, introspective adolescent girl ? I must be in contact with a wide variety of lives if I am not to become submerged in the routine of my own economic strata and class. I will not have my range of acquaintance circumscribed by my mate's profession. Yet I see that this will happen if I do not have an outlet... of some sort.

Looking at myself, in the past years, I have come to the conclusion that I must have a passionate physical relationship with someone - or combat the great sex urge in me by drastic means. I chose the former answer. I also admitted that I am obligated in a certain way to my family and society (damn society anyway) to follow certain absurd and traditionnal customs - for my own security, they tell me. I must therefore, confine the major part of my life, to one human being of the opposite sex... that is a necessity because : (1) I choose the physical relationship of intercourse as an animal and releasing part of life, (2) I can not gratify myself promiscuously and retain the respect and support of society (which is my pet devil) - and because I am a woman : ergo : one root of envy for male freedom, (3) Still being a woman, I must be clever and obtain as full a measure of security for those approaching ineligible and aging years wherein I will not have the chance to capture a new mate - or in all probability. So, resolved : I shall proceed to obtain a mate through the customary procedure : namely, marriage.


I long to permeate the matter of this world : to become anchored to life by laundry and lilacs, daily bread and fried eggs, and a man, the dark-eyed stranger, who eats my food and my body and my love and goes around the world all day and comes back to find solace with me at night. Who will give me a child, that will bring me again to be a member of that race which throws snowballs at me, sensing perhaps the rot at which they strike ?

(Cambridge Notes, february 1956
in Sylvia Plath, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, faber and faber, 1977)