| There is something fascinating about reading other people's mail if you are allowed to. Here is your chance to read the letters of American writer Sylvia Plath, which she wrote home to her mother from a hotel where she had a summer job as a waitress. At the time, she was a college student and was still at the start of her writing career. Through the letter we learn of her changing thoughts and moods concerning, boys and writing.
THE BEGINNING OF A CARREER
The Belmont Hotel, cape Cod
June 11, 1952
Your amazing telegram [telegram announcing $500 Mademoiselle prize for "Sunday at the Mintons," which I forwarded] came just as I was scrubbing tables in the shady interior of The Belmont dining room. I was so excited that I screamed and actually threw my arms around the head waitress who no doubt thinks I am rather insane! Anyhow, psychologically, the moment couldn't have been better. I felt tired -- one's first night's sleep in a new place never is peaceful -- and I didn't get much! To top it off, I was the only girl waitress here, and had been scrubbing furniture, washing dishes and silver, lifting tables, etc. since 8 a.m. Also, I just learned since I am completely inexperienced, I am not going to be working in the main dining room, but in the "side hall" where the managers and top hotel brass eat. So, tips will no doubt net much less during the summer and the company be less interesting. So I was beginning to worry about money when your telegram came. God! To think "Sunday at the Mintons" is one of two prize stories to be put in a big national slick! Frankly, I can't believe it!
The first thing I though of was: Mother can keep her intersession money and buy some pretty clothes and a special trip or something! At least I get a winter coat and extra special suit out of the Mintons. I think the prize is $500!
ME! Of all people!…
So it's really looking up around here, now that I don't have to be scared stiff about money … Oh, I say, even if my feet kill me after this first week, and I drop 20 trays, I will have the beach, boys to bring me beer, sun, and young gay companions. What a life.
Love, your crazy old daughter.
June 12. 1952
No doubt after I catch up on sleep, and learn to balance trays high on my left hand, I'll feel much happier. As it is now, I feel stuck in the midst of a lot of loud, brassy Irish Catholics, and the only way I can jolly myself is to say, "Oh, well, it's only for a summer, and I can maybe write about them all." At least I've got a new name for my next protagonist -- Marley, a gabby girl who knows her way around but good. The ration of boys to girls has gotten less and less, so I'll be lucky if I get tagged by the youngest kid here. Lots of the girls are really wise, drinking flirts. As for me, being the conservative, quiet, gracious type, I don't stand much chance of dating some of the cutest ones … If I can only get "in" as a pal with these girls, and never for a minute let them know I'm the gentle intellectual type, it'll be O.K.
As for the Mlle news, I don't think it's really sunk in yet. I felt sure they made a mistake, or that you'd made it up to cheer me. The big advantage will be that I won't have to worry about earning barely $300 this summer. I would really have been sick otherwise. I can't wait till August when I can go casually down to the drug store and pick up a slick copy of Mlle, flip to the index, and see ME, one of two college girls in the U.S.!
Really, when I think of how I started it over spring vacation, polished it at school, and sat up till midnight in the Haven House kitchen typing it amidst noise and chatter, I can't get over how the story soared to were it did…
I get great pleasure out of sharing it [her feeling about the story] with you, who really understand how terribly much it means as a tangible testimony that I have got a germ of writing ability. The only thing, I probably won't have a chance to win Mlle again, so I'll try for a guest editorship maybe next or my senior year, and set my sights for the Atlantic. God, I'm glad I can talk about it with you -- probably you're the only outlet that I'll have that won't get tired of my talking about writing …
Speaking again of Henry and Liz, it was a step for me to a story where the protagonist isn't always ME, and proved that I am beginning to use imagination to transform the actual incident. I was scared that would never happen, but I think it's an indication that my perspective is broadening.
Sometime I think -- heck, I don't know why I didn't stay home all summer, writing, doing physical science, and having a small part-time job. I could "afford" to now, but it doesn't do much good to yearn about that, I guess. Although it would have been nice. Oh well, I'll cheer up. I love you.
Your own Sivvy
June 15, 1952
… Do write me letters, Mommy, because I am in a very dangerous of feeling sorry for myself … Just at present, life is awful. Mademoiselle seems quite unreal, and I am exhausted, scared, incompetent, unenergetic and generally low is spirits … Working in side hall puts me part, and I feel completely uprooted and clumsy. The more I see the main hall girls expertly getting special dishes, fixing shaved ice and fruit, etc., the more I get an inferiority complex and feel that each day in side hall leaves me further behind … But as tempted as I am to be a coward and escape by crawling back home, I have resolved to give it a good month's trial -- till July 10 … Don't worry about me, but do send me little pellets of advice now and then.
June 24, 1952
… Last night I went on a "gang" birthday party at the "Sand Bar" where we sang and talked for a few hours. There were about forty of us kids from the hotel. I managed by some magic to get myself seated next to a fellow in his first year at Harvard Law -- and he was just a dear … The best part was when we came back. It was a beautiful clear starry night, and Clark went in to get me two of his sweaters to wear because it was cold, and brought out a book of T.S. Eliot's poems. So we sat on a bench where I could just barely read the print, and he put his head in my lap and I read aloud to him for a wile. Most nice. The only thing is I am so inclined to get fond of someone who will do things with me like that -- always inclined to be too metaphysical and serious conversationally -- that's my main trouble … So glad to hear the check from Mlle is real. I hardly could believe it. Just now I am mentally so disorganized that I can't retain knowledge or think at all. The work is still new enough to be tiring, what with three changes a day into uniforms, and I am so preoccupied by mechanics of living and people that I can't yet organize and assimilate all the chaos of experience pouring in on me. In spite of everything, I still have my good old sense of humor and manage to laugh a good deal of the time … I'll make the best of whatever comes my way.
Much love to you,
n. French title equivalent to Miss, abbr. Mlle
a. full of or providing shad; dark
n. the inner part of sth; inside
a. seriously ill in the mind; mad
ad. in any case; anyway
n. (sl.) high officials, executives, etc.
vt. gain as profit 净赚
n. a popular magazine printed on heavy, glassy paper（用油光纸印制的）通俗杂志
ad. in an open, honest and straightforward way
n. a period between two academic terms, sometime utilized for brief concentrated courses
n. a bitter alcoholic drink made from grain 啤酒
n. one who is often with another person; friend 同伴
a. loud and daring in a tasteless manner
vt. make (sb.) feel good or agreeable, esp. to gain and end
n. the chief character in a play or novel
a. very talkative
n. the relationship in number, quantity or size between two different things 比率
vt. follow closely
n. a person who behaves with a member of the opposite sex in a way that attracts interest and attention
a. very well-mannered and pleasant
a. sharp-witted, clever, charmingly attractive
n. (infml) friend
vi. turn over quickly
n. an alphabetical list of the names and subjects in a printed work 索引
vt. improve; perfect 润色
vi. fly high into the air; rise beyond what is common and ordinary
a. real; clear or definite enough to be easily seen, felt or noticed
n. proof; evidence
n. the beginning of anything; origin 萌芽，起源
n. the position of an editor
a. of the final year at high school or college
n. student in the senior class
n. a way of releasing sth.
n. view; outlook; way of thinking about things 观点，看法
v. make or become broader
int. (used mainly as a mild curse) hell
vi. have a strong desire; long
vt. tear up by the roots
n. the state or condition of being not good or less good in quality or value
an abnormal feeling not as good as other people, sometimes resulting in avoidance of others or overly aggressive behavior 自卑情结
n. a person who is afraid to face danger, pain or hardship
n. a little ball or similarly shaped object; piece
n. a group of friends who frequently meet
a. filled with stars that are visible
n. a warm knitted piece of clothing, which covers the upper part of one's body and arms 毛线衫，厚运动衫
a. having a great liking or love for sb. or sth.
a. highly abstract; philosophical 高度抽象的，哲理的
a. in a confused state; badly planned or managed
vt. fill the thoughts of sb. almost completely, esp. so that not enough attention is given to other things
n. the way in which sth. works or is done
mechanics of living
simple routine matters of life
vt. take into the body and digest; understand completely and be able to use properly
n. a state of complete and thorough disorder and confusion
Phrases & Expressions
without doubt; certainly
to top it off
(usu. introducing sth. undesirable) in addition to everything else
be stuck in
be unable to escape from (a disadvantageous position)
know one's way around/ about
understand how things happen in the world; be experienced in the way of the world
in regard to; speaking of; concerning
get a firm place in the mind; become fully understood
believe; learn to live with the shock of (sth. Very surprising or shocking)
set one's sight for
aim for, wish to get or win
become hopeful, joyous or glad; stop being sad or discouraged
at this time; now
as a result of (used to introduce the reasons for a particular situation, esp. an undesirable one)
be preoccupied by/with
have the mind fixed on sth., esp. sth. worrying so that no attention is paid to anything else
make the best of
do as well as one can with
come one's way
happen to one
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