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7 Meaningful Sylvia Plath Tattoos

Sylvia Plath is a figure of both tragedy and genius. A pioneer of the confessional poetry genre and posthumous Pulitzer Prize-winner, she lived to be only thirty-years-old. Plath’s raw depiction of her personal struggles continues to resonate with many who share her feelings. All readers carry the impact of writing that touches them, but these seven tattoos help people to keep Plath’s words especially close.


The Bell Jar (1963)


Tattoo from 'The Ball Jar' reads: "I am, I am, I am"

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


Fig tree tattoo inspired by Sylvia Plath's 'The Bell Jar'

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2. 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… 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.


The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath (2000)


Tattoo inspired by 'The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath'

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3. “I desire the things which will destroy me in the end.”


Tattoo featuring famous quotations from 'The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath'

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4. “I talk to God but the sky is empty.”


Tattoo inspired by 'The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath'

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5. “I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between.”


Sylvia Plath: The Collected Poems (1993)


Tattoo inspired by Sylvia Plath poem 'Lady Lazarus'

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6. “Out of the ash / I rise with my red hair / And I eat men like air.” “Lady Lazarus” (1962)


Tattoo inspired by "Tulips" by Sylvia Plath

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7. “I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted / to lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.” “Tulips” (1961)


As what might have been her eighty-sixth birthday swiftly approaches (Oct. 27), it’s all the more important to remember Plath’s life and accomplishments.




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