Monday, 9 February 2015

Book 2 : A book based on a true story

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - six moths into a young woman's life

Sylvia Plath has always fascinated me, from the few poems I stumbled upon, to her quotes. Most of them were so dark, sad and raw. I chose The Bell Jar, a thinly disguised autobiography by Plath so I could understand this woman behind these cutting yet brilliant pieces of work.

The Bell Jar is about Plath's , (portrayed as Esther) twentieth year happenings. This book had me thinking: How one can have all the material things they need in life yet something could still be lacking. Esther worked in New York City, meeting the glamorous people, was on a scholarship, a mother back home who provided a roof for her head, yet she seemed to move around the world as if she was in a daze.

The Bell Jar helped me understand a bit about mental instability issues from the angle of the afflicted.

It is heartbreaking how Esther was so preoccupied with death;
cutting her calf so she could bleed to death;
wanting to slit her wrists and  carrying around razor blades for that;
quizzing Cal about how he preferred to die;
how she wanted to hang herself but failed for the ceilings in her mother's house were too low;
how she wanted to swim till she was too tired and then drown;
how she, in the end, resorted to hiding in the basement and taking her mother's tablets.

Through out the length of the text, Plath threatened to break my heart when every time Esther thought of dying or attempted to kill herself and when she eventually left the asylum for the world, I was relieved. Yet my heart ultimately broke when Plath, portrayed as Esther, separated from her husband and living in Europe with her two children, with her poetry coming off well, at the end succeeded in taking her own life. ---___---

Plath had written in the last optimistic pages of The Bell Jar : "How did I know that someday-at a college,in Europe,anywhere, - the bell jar, with its stifling distortions wouldn't descend again."

She had escaped from the bell jar once, when she left the asylum in America yet the bell jar had descended upon her, in Europe.

The theme of death is so thick in this text's air. From the mention of the cadavers as the book starts, the dead flowers in the maternity ward, Esther 's visit to her father's grave, Joan's suicide.

Plath's diction is raw, somewhat crude. Calls a spade a spade and does not romanticize things like marriages, or childbirth and even when she describes how Esther and the other girls in NYC suffered from food poisoning.

So glad I read this book. So glad I did.

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