“I was descending, but the white sun rose no higher. It hung over the suspended waves of the hills, an insentient pivot without which the world would not exist. A small, answering point in my own body flew toward it. I felt my lungs inflate with the inrush of scenery- air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy’ … A dispassionate white sun shone at the summit of the sky. I wanted to hone myself on it till I grew saintly and thin and essential as the blade of a knife.”
Sharing a passage from one of my favorite chapters in The Bell Jar. Esther’s fear of skiing is calmed by the thought that it could kill her. Her journey down is one of the few pleasant experiences she has throughout the entire novel. And even after she breaks her leg, she tells Buddy she’s going to do it again. Imagine comparing yourself, in your greatest moment of euphoric bliss, to the blade of a knife. Esther is one of the most beautifully, tragically written characters I’ve ever come across. This scene forces me to hold my breath, and, for lack of a better phrase, it certainly gives me all the feels.
My #oliveedition of The Bell Jar could definitely be replaced, but i love its rugged look (and its old bookish smell). What book scenes and quotes do you return to for an emotional high? I have a few others, maybe I’ll share them in the future.