I am. I am. I am.

Literary Tattoos: The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

This belongs to Darian K.

My life is a constant whirlwind full of self doubt and existential angst. When I look at this tattoo, I remember to breathe. I remember that just because I feel like I am going insane, I am alive, and that’s good enough for the moment.

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”

- The Bell Jar by Syliva Plath

I am. I am. I am.

Three very distinct tattoos from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

Literary Tattoos: The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

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.”

Literary Tattoos: The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

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.

Literary Tattoos: The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

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

Fig Tree

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.

Literary Tattoos: The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath Illustrations

“…I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.

From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 7

Sylvia Plath Shoes

This tattoo was submitted by Allison, who says:

The tattoo is a drawing of a pair of shoes by Sylvia Plath. It is part of a small collection of her drawings that appears in the back of some paperback editions of “The Bell Jar”.

I’ve had the same copy of the book since high school and always keep it near me.

Literary Tattoos: The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

Drawing from The Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathLiterary Tattoos: The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath .

Sylvia Plath & Christopher Marlowe

Literary Tattoos: The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath Christopher Marlowe

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.”

- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Consummatum est: this bill is ended,
And Faustus hath bequeathed his soul to Lucifer.
But what is this inscription on mine arm?
Homo fuge! Whither should I fly?
If unto God, he’ll throw me down to hell.
My senses are deceived; here’s nothing writ:
I see it plain, here in this place is writ,
Homo fuge! Yet shall not Faustus fly.”

- Faustus in The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus From the Quarto of 1604 by Christopher Marlowe