The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥


The Bell Jar has always been on my list of books to read, as it’s infamous for being the semi-autobiographical account of author Sylvia Plath.  Although Plath is most noted for her poetry she did complete one novel, The Bell Jar. This is a semiautobiographical fiction novel, as many of the events were based off of Plath’s own life. The main character Esther Greenwood, is a guest editor for a fashion magazine before her last year of college. She falls into depression, as she cannot identify with any of the female stereotypes presented to her thus far in her life.

Most of those who have not read Sylvia Plath’s work probably know her as the death obsessed poet who stuck her head in the oven. In truth, she was the death obsessed poet, who wrote an incredibly feminism-enthused novel as well as several books of beautiful, deep and dark poetry. She also ended her own life by inhaling gaseous fumes in her kitchen. In short, although her mental state was anything but beautiful, the products of it, are some of the most beautiful and emotionally evoking pieces of literature ever written. When discussing Plath’s poetry, Joyce Carol Oates said, “Sylvia Plath has made beautiful poetry out of the paranoia sometimes expressed by a certain kind of emotionally disturbed person, who imagines that any relationship with anyone will overwhelm him, engulf and destroy his soul.”  This is a wonderful way to put into words, exactly the essence that is captured by Plath’s work.  I found “The Bell Jar” to be an utterly depressing story of this woman’s life.  I don’t think I will ever read this book again.  As small as the book was, it was packed with so much emotional turmoil that it almost made me sick.  A few others that have commented on my facebook page say they have read this book several times in their lifetime and will continue to re-read it.

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