Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is a mostly autobiographical novel. Esther, the main character, is a young woman who finds herself sinking into a deep depression after returning home from an internship in New York. After a suicide attempt, Esther enters an asylum where she must figure out what she wants from life. Knowing Sylvia Plath's history, it is easy to understand why this book is autobiographical. Names have been changed, but events and feelings have not. Esther's despair feels real and raw. Read this book if you love Plath's poetry, if you like The Catcher in the Rye but want to read about a female character with the same tone, or if you are interested in stories about mental illness. I give it an 8.5 out of 10.


Jackie said...

Ewww, Sylvia Plath. Women love her, but I am convinced that it's because of the extra X chromosome. My girlfriend mentioned how much she loves The Bell Jar and I think she caught immediately how my face screwed up in disgust, even though I really did try to hide it.

I think your comparison of TBJ to Catcher in the Rye is really interesting, though. CitR was one of my favorite books from when I was about 12 or 13 until I was about 20 or 21. It was so important to me at 16, 17, and 18 especially, and I still appreciate it for what it meant to me then. I really identified with just about everything Holden felt and thought; we pretty much had the exact same frustrations about the same things.

I'd definitely suggest Catcher to boys that age and I guess Bell Jar to girls that age.

Sig! said...

I prefer Catcher in the Rye as well. I wasn't too impressed with The Bell Jar. I wish I was, though, because I wanted to like it.