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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
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The Bell Jar (original 1963; edition 2006)

by Sylvia Plath

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17,89326896 (3.98)394
Member:shurayuki-hime
Title:The Bell Jar
Authors:Sylvia Plath
Info:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2006), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (Author) (1963)

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» See also 394 mentions

English (262)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (2)  English (1)  All languages (267)
Showing 1-5 of 262 (next | show all)
What a damn bore! I'm simply not going to trudge through this story so I can get a solitary sentence of insightful or interesting prose.

This chick could write, but she couldn't tell a story; not one I wanted to read anyway.

Got to about page 150. This took days. If given the choice be tween picking up this book or an asp, I'd actually have to think about it. At least with the asp there's a modicum of tension and at least a hint of an outcome that I'm interested in. But then I want to do my best to avoid death and the possibility of hell, where my punishment might be to read this book for eternity.

It's a real conundrum. It really, really is.

And for you snobby literary types who think those who don't like garbage like this are simple minded dolts who will always be too dumb to 'get it'. Believe me, I get it, buddy. I just don't care. It's just boring and depressing. Makes me want to stick my head in an an oven and...

Too soon?

( )
  DanielAlgara | Sep 26, 2014 |
This book follows a woman as she slowly descends into madness. The era in which she lives constrained women to a few roles and she found herself straying and the stress of it caused her to break down. Plath makes insanity seem sane in this interesting novel. ( )
  Rosenstern | Sep 14, 2014 |
Ur en ung kvinnas perspektiv så får man följa med henne när hon sjunker in i en mentalsjukdom. Beskrivningen av hur hon upplever sin sjukdom är ytterst påtaglig. En bok som är värd att läsas fler än en gång. ( )
  annie.orstrom | Sep 11, 2014 |
The Bell Jar is not an easy book to read. If the reader knows anything about Sylvia Plath’s life--and everyone pretty much does since she committed suicide less than a month after its publication--then they know how the story really ends, and it was difficult for me to get past the knowledge of her own tragic life while reading. Yet the story is beautifully written. Bare, and breathtakingly honest, poetic and artful. It is a fictionalized version of Plath’s own life, chronicling main character Esther Greenwood’s internship at a New York fashion magazine, then her descent into madness as she returns home to live with her mother in between her stint at the magazine and resuming her studies.

Esther chafes at the thought of being under a man’s thumb and rails against conventions of the day. She doesn’t like babies and isn’t interested in pursuing the kind of life that society expected of women in the early Fifties. I have to wonder if things had been different for Plath if she’d lived in a more modern time and she hadn’t felt so constrained as she evidently did.

As Esther’s mental condition deteriorates and she slides further into her mental illness, the reader is thrown off balance by her jumbled thoughts. She becomes an unreliable narrator in that the things she describes may or may not actually be happening.

An important book for anyone wishing to gain insight into what a person dealing with clinical depression may actually be going through.

( )
  mclesh | Sep 2, 2014 |
I had put off reading this book because I thought it would be dark and difficult. Having finally tackled it, I know now what a vibrant, observant and gifted person Sylvia Plath must have been. The book is full of interesting people and lively situations. It paints a wonderful picture of life at the top in 60s New York City for the few brief months the story is set there. There is anguish, despair and deep sadness in this book but the main character triumphs so many times.
The real sadness is knowing that some darkness was finally able to triumph over Sylvia herself. ( )
  rosiezbanks | Aug 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 262 (next | show all)
The Bell Jar is a marvelously unself-conscious confessional novel dashed off before such documents were in vogue. Now, however, it is as if the likes of Joan Didion have merely been sweeping the stage for Sylvia's ghostly comeback.
added by Shortride | editTime, Martha Duffy (Jun 21, 1971)
 
Her subject--the nervous breakdown and attempted suicide of a well-behaved, bright and successful college girl during the summer vacation of 1953--is hardly topical, and for careful, plain, dolorous prose style, which conveys the world of the heroine under the bell jar of madness with its "stifling distortions," offers few sentimental attractions. It is not a facile, entertaining or dramatic book; it has none of the sharp bitter humor and bite of her poems. It's not well shaped (it can be quite awkward); it offers no modish visionary thrills from the world of the insane, and though it has scenes of college life, the suburbs and the fashion magazine world of the 1950's for the most part it just hangs there dully and drags you down with its heroine; you don't believe she really recovers. Its vague, absorbent, melancholy pull lingers for weeks.
 
[Plath] had failed to understand Esther's malady, and had left behind an incomplete symbol of the age it reflected. Such a reading makes "The Bell Jar" a considerably better book than Miss Plath regarded it.
 
Esther Greenwood's account of her year in the bell jar is as clear and readable as it is witty and disturbing. It makes for a novel such as Dorothy Parker might have written if she had not belonged to a generation infected with the relentless frivolity of the college- humor magazine. The brittle humor of that early generation is reincarnated in "The Bell Jar," but raised to a more serious level because it is recognized as a resource of hysteria.
 

» Add other authors (97 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Plath, SylviaAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dorsman-Vos, W.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fleckhaus, WillyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaiser, ReinhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lois AmesBiographical Notesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
for Elizabeth and David
First words
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.
Quotations
"She stared at her reflection in the glossed shop window as if to make sure, moment by moment, that she continued to exist."
The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way.
To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream.
I took a deep breath, and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061148512, Paperback)

Plath was an excellent poet but is known to many for this largely autobiographical novel. The Bell Jar tells the story of a gifted young woman's mental breakdown beginning during a summer internship as a junior editor at a magazine in New York City in the early 1950s. The real Plath committed suicide in 1963 and left behind this scathingly sad, honest and perfectly-written book, which remains one of the best-told tales of a woman's descent into insanity.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:31 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

This novel--echoing Plath's own experiences as a rising writer/editor in the early 1950s--chronicles the nervous breakdown of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, successful, but slowly going under, and maybe for the last time.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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