Page 159. " it seemed fitting I should take on a mourning my mother had never bothered with "

In Letters Home (p.25), Sylvia Plath's mother explains how she viewed her husband's body at the funeral parlour and felt that he looked 'like a fashionable store manikin'. Believing that his children would not recognise him, she decided against taking them to his funeral.

She then goes on to say: 'What I intended as an exercise in courage for the sake of my children was interpreted years later by my daughter as indifference'.

Page 161. " The stone was of a mottled pink marble, like tinned salmon "

According to Anne Stevenson*, Sylvia Plath's biographer, Plath visited her father's grave in Winthrop cemetery for the first time in March 1959. According to Stevenson, the notes Plath made at that time inform her description of Esther Greenwood's search for her father's grave in The Bell Jar.

Shortly after her visit to the grave in 1959, Plath wrote a poem referring to the event, entitled Electra on Azalea Path:

The day I woke, I woke on Churchyard Hill.

I found your name, I found your bones and all

Enlisted in a cramped necropolis,

Your speckled stone askew by an iron fence.

Full text

*Bitter Fame p.152

Page 163. " Then, at the rim of vision, it gathered itself, and in one sweeping tide, rushed me to sleep "

On 24 August 1953, Sylvia Plath climbed into the crawl space under the downstairs bedroom of her house in Wellesley and took an overdose of sleeping tablets. 

She was found there three days later, returning to consciousness, by members of her family.