Monday, September 7, 2009

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath -- A Book Review

Esther Greenwood is at college and is fighting two battles, one against her own desire for perfection in all things - grades, boyfriend, looks, career - and the other against remorseless mental illness. As her depression deepens she finds herself encased in it, bell-jarred away from the rest of the world. This is the story of her journey back into reality. Highly readable, witty and disturbing, The Bell Jar is Sylvia Plath's only novel and was originally published under a pseudonym in 1963. What it has to say about what women expect of themselves, and what society expects of women, is as sharply relevant today as it has always been.

1 comment:

  1. Everyone knows what it feels like to go through "bad times" in his or her lives. When things aren't perfect most of us see a light at the end of the tunnel. Once you reach that light things are better again. So, it's really hard to try and understand how people can't pull themselves out of a slump. Or at least for me I always just thought something along the lines of "gee it's not all that bad" etc… and that’s coming from a pessimist.

    This book takes you to a tunnel with no light. It’s a strange place to be. It shows you a perfectly ordinary woman in the prime of her life and tells you not everything is, as it seems. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the human mind and maybe as a way to start to understand a friend or relative who is or has been where Esther Greenwood is in this book.

    This book reads more like an autobiography then a novel. At the time it was written they had some barbaric methods of treating mental illnesses such as shock treatments. The way it’s described you know that Plath had probably experienced some of those treatments herself. It is well known in the book world that Plath eventually succeeded in one of her suicide attempts by placing her head in a gas oven sometime in the early 60’s. She was married and had children.


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