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The Bell Jar: A Novel by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar: A Novel (original 1963; edition 2013)

by Sylvia Plath (Author)

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21,530381101 (3.97)509
Title:The Bell Jar: A Novel
Authors:Sylvia Plath (Author)
Info:HarperCollins / Perennial Classics (2013), Edition: 50 Anv, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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

1960s (49)
To Read (10)

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» See also 509 mentions

English (366)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (3)  Italian (2)  Catalan (2)  All (1)  Bulgarian (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (380)
Showing 1-5 of 366 (next | show all)
This was a story of a young girl, Esther, in the 1950s who was interning at a junior editor for a NYC magazine. She does the internship, and then finds out that a story she submitted to get into a special writing class has been rejected and that seems to be the beginning of her downfall. She slowly has a mental breakdown and has to return to living with her mother after the internship instead of returning to school. She attempts suicide and lands herself in a mental institution. She has electroshock therapy while she is there and a friend of hers is also admitted. Her friend ends up killing herself and this seems to turn something in Esther and help lead her to recovery.

I liked this book well enough. It was a little confusing at times. To me it seemed the Esther went from being perfectly fine to attempting suicide rather quickly. But the overall book was well written.

The notes at the end of the book were the most helpful and understanding the book. Sylvia Plath, the author, killed herself at a very young age. Many people speculate that the story of Esther rivals Sylvia's own path with depression. This is the only book she ever wrote. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
A nail biting tail of a young lady with everything to gain slowly slipping into madness. Ms.Plath knows exactly how madness takes over and describes it perfectly. ( )
  joannemonck | Dec 30, 2018 |
Esther's descent in a nervous breakdown. She's self-absorbed and doesn't express herself. I didn't find it sad as I believe some do. ( )
  VhartPowers | Dec 27, 2018 |
Plath's talent as a poet is obvious in her only novel. Beautiful sentences and excellent use of long and short paragraphs to control the tone of the book. You can't help but re-read some of the passages. ( )
  siok | Dec 18, 2018 |
Los entresijos que se pueden esconder tras los sentimientos que viven en nuestra mente latente e incansable son tan profundos, tan extensos, que es prácticamente imposible llevar un control de los mismos. De ahí nacen millones de millones de personalidades, de ahí nacen millones y millones de maneras conocer el dolor, de llegar a acariciar el infierno.

La campana de cristal es un grito al dolor interior de una mente mustia y quebrada, que poco a poco se va evaporando en la corriente de un mundo que a Esther Greenwood se le antojó, sencillamente imposible. Y digo sencillamente porque sucedió (sucede) así exactamente. Un un instante todo se rompe, y algo que funcionaba más o menos a la perfección empieza a chirría, a flojear y se precipita fuera del camino de la normalidad. Entonces deja de tener fuerza, y su comportamiento se sale de lo común. Y todo esto se une a una desesperanza atroz, a un dolor más agudo que el frío y a la incomprensión del alrededor. Después de haber disfrutado de una beca estudiantil durante un mes en Nueva York, lugar en el que se deja envolver por una vorágine de sucesos en los que nunca se nota del todo cómoda. Las crisis nerviosas empiezan a aflorar levemente, dejando entrever al lector sentimientos agónicos y fríos, que entristecen y provocan un desasosiego en el que cualquiera que haya sufrido una enfermedad semejante identificará en seguida. Es, realmente, escalofriante.

Posteriormente, la novela abandona la ciudad de Nueva York y Esther se refugia en su casa natal, en una rutina que la desploma por completo. El reflejo de su decadencia es tan realista y tan tangible que, en ocasiones, resulta insoportable y rabioso proseguir con su lectura. Las páginas avanzan con agonía y desesperanza, plagadas de desmotivación, de gritos de auxilio, de puñetazos de verdad. Esther (Sylvia) nada hacia su destrucción, con una calma serena y malvada.

Finalmente, se produce el confinamiento en un manicomio, reflejando los terribles métodos con los que se trataba a los enfermos mentales en los años 50. Una parte que se enfría, se provoca el práctico distanciamiento de la protagonista con la realidad, cómo si todo lo demás se encontrase desenfocado, lejano, sin importancia. Es tan visual que se llega a una parte de hiperrealismo espectacular.

Además de la evidente calidad que desprende la literatura de la autora, todo cobra mayor dramatismo al conocer que se trata de una novela semi-autobiográfica (lo conocido cómo novela en clave), y que Sylvia Plath se quitó la vida un mes después de su publicación.
( )
  MiriamBeizana | Dec 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 366 (next | show all)
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 (24 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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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.
That's one of the reasons I never wanted to get married. The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket. (p. 69)
The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way.
"We'll take it up where we left off, Esther," she had said, with her sweet, martyr's smile. "We'll act as if all of this were a bad dream" A bad dream. To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream. A bad dream. I remembered everything. I remembered the cadavers and Doreen and the story of the fig tree and Marco's diamond and the sailor on the Common and Doctor Gordon's wall-eyed nurse and the broken thermometers and the Negro with his two kinds of beans and the twenty pounds I gained on insulin and the rock that bulged between sky and sea like a gray skull. Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind snow, should numb and cover them. But they were part of me. They were my landscape. (p. 181)
I took a deep breath, and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.
I began to think that maybe it was true that when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed, and afterward you went about numb as a slave in some private, totalitarian state. (p. 70)
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:09 -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 17 descriptions

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