This novel is one of the most influential and recognizable novels to date. If you are a book enthusiast- you have definitely heard of Sylvia Plath. I have heard her name for years but I never took the plunge to read The Bell Jar until now. The Bell Jar in the readers world- is one of those novels one will either love or hate. Some people find it straight out depressing and some people find it eye opening and changing. I personally am stuck with all those feelings. I found it eye opening in the sense that you follow Esther Greenwood (name change) through her early adulthood in college- A woman trying to find herself in this world to a woman who feels as if she has no way out except ending her life.
In the above paragraph when I bracketed (name change) you are probably thinking.. ‘what?’ .. Well, The Bell Jar is a semi-autobiography with the names of places and people changed. I found this a bit confusing at first because I wasn’t 100% familiar with Sylvia Plath and the story- so I kept wondering if these things actually happened to Plath or not. I realized and read that: she questioned the novels literacy value and did not think it was ‘serious work’ — she was worried that the publication might cause pain to many people she loved whose personalities she had distorted and lightly disguised in the novel.
Esther is an intelligent, beautiful, and talented woman. From the start of the novel you become attached to her personality- you want to know more about her. Esther seems so full of wonder and ambition that it really makes me think about how much times have changed and if Esther Greenwood was to receive treatment now a days as opposed to the treatment they offered her in the asylum she was at– would she have recovered fully and successfully? Now, don’t get me wrong. I know even modern medicine does not work for everyone- but by reading the novel- I personally got the feeling that as soon as she received the old treatment it just sent her into a spiral of a different mind set. Esther’s thinking and actions just seemed changed to me. It was something different to read a young woman’s journey into a world unrecognizable to her and the reader from the start of the novel.
I gave the Bell Jar four hearts- It was an interesting and compelling read as it drags you into the mind of Esther Greenwood– but as I stated above I can’t fathom giving it five hearts as personally Plath’s death haunts every single page of this novel. Every word I read from Esther and every thought she had- my mind went to the untimely passing of Sylvia Plath. The only word I can think of to describe this novel is- Tragic. Very, very tragic. It’s tragic when you know how Sylvia Plath’s life sadly turns out– compared to the ending of this book.
Lots of love,