Three very distinct tattoos from Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar.
This is Jude's tattoo.
It is an anatomically correct heart with the words "I am. I am. I am." pumping out. each "I am" is slightly bigger the the previous to symbolize the beating effect of the words at described in the book, The Bell Jar.
The words " I am" can have any meaning, but the way I perceived such strong words were " I am Here. I am Alive. I am Okay."
This is Emma's tattoo.
For me the quote means a lot and speaks a great deal to a very difficult time I recently went through when I was required to really look closely at who I am and who I want to be. I love the definitive-ness of the idea. We are. Period. We exist and that means something. But the provisional nature of it is intriguing as well. Finish the phrase….I am….what? A mother? Flawed? Content with my life. You name it. There are lots of other elements to the piece that are all symbolic to me but not necessarily in a “literary” way.
The tattoo was done by the inimitable Alice Kendall at Infinity Tattoo in Portland, OR.
This one belongs to Maria Jose Montero.
For me it's like a mantra, so I don't forget that I am alive, I exist and I am me.
"I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am."
- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
This is Adrienne's tattoo.
Sylvia Plath was has been my favorite writer since I began high school and was my fist true encounter to poetry. I thought it only right to commemorate her talent with a line of her poetry I think truly exemplifies who she was as a writer:
For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart----
It really goes.
- Excerpt from Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath. Read the whole poem here.
These are Eileen's tattoos.
My tattoo is from the poem Elm by Sylvia Plath. The line reads "I do not fear it: I have been there." I got this tattoo to symbolize my struggles with Bipolar Disorder and how I identify with Sylvia Plath through her literature. She is one of my greatest literary influences and I take great inspiration from the successes she had despite her own struggle with mental illness. For me, this tattoo represents that I've been to the lowest of the lows and the highest of the highs, and I'm not afraid, because I survived before and I will survive again.
I also have a tattoo on my right forearm, it is a passage from Kurt Cobain's suicide note. He also was a sufferer from Bipolar Disorder. The quote reads, "And so remember, it's better to burn out than to fade away." He references the Neil Young song. I have always been a huge Kurt Cobain fan, but he also committed suicide like Sylvia Plath, and that is not my intended path. For me, this tattoo is a remember that I DON'T believe this statement. I tattooed it on my forearm not because I believe him but because I don't. It is always better to stay strong and keep going.
This tattoo belongs to Elias Flores.
I am an 18 year old gay young man attending GA State University planning on majoring in chemistry. As I discover more and more of Sylvia Plath I keep asking myself if I am making the right choice in my decision. Her work moves me, makes me feel. I am greatly considering majoring in English because of her. To be able to manipulate words and emotions in such a parallel way is amazing! The reason I choice the last verse of "Lady Lazarus" is because of the image when I first read it. I pictured a woman with flaming fire hair rising and devouring men like air. It almost serves as a warning symbol to guys who want me for only one thing. Beware, I EAT men like you!
Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.
- Sylvia Plath, Lady Lazarus.
This is Katie C.'s tattoo:
The reason I got it was because I can really relate to having many paths in my life I might take, and I want to remind myself that if I wait around for the perfect, right one, eventually all my choices will be gone.
This is Vincent's tattoo.
By a mad miracle I go intact
Among the common rout
Thronging sidewalk, street,
And bickering shops;
Nobody blinks a lid, gapes,
Or cries that this raw flesh
Reeks of the butcher's cleaver,
Its heart and guts hung hooked
And bloodied as a cow's split frame
Parceled out by white-jacketed assassins.
- Excerpt from "Street Song" by Sylvia Plath.
3 lines from the poem "Tulips" by Sylvia Plath:
And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me.
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
And I have no face, I have wanted to efface myself.