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