I’ve started reading Sylvia Plath’s college journals. Because of the intensity of her self-analysis, I only read an entry or two per day, but the thread her thoughts follow is often unexpected and hypnotic. Below is a fascinating excerpt that deals with her awareness of her own vanity and her resentment of woman’s place in society (ideas that arise in the journals again and again).
I do not love; I do not love anybody except myself. That is a rather shocking thing to admit. I have none of the selfless love of my mother. I have none of the plodding, practical love… I am, to be blunt and concise, in love only with myself, my puny being with its small inadequate breasts and meager, thin talents. I am capable of affection for those who reflect my own world. How much of my solicitude for other human beings is real and honest, how much is a feigned lacquer painted on by society, I do not know. I am afraid to face myself. Tonight I am trying to do so. I heartily wish that there were some absolute knowledge, some person whom I could trust to evaluate me and tell me the truth.
My greatest trouble, arising from my basic and egotistic self-love, is jealousy. I am jealous of men—a dangerous and subtle envy which can corrode, I imagine, any relationship. It is an envy born of the desire to be active and doing, not passive and listening… I can pretend to forget my envy; no matter, it is there, insidious, malignant, latent.