The Bell Jar
“To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is a bad dream.”
Sylvia Plath’s stunning, practical, and emotionally conflicted novel is about a woman who falls into the grip of madness.
Esther Greenwood is splendid, wonderful, and skilled, but is however gradually going under—perhaps for the last time. In her acclaimed and unforgettable masterwork, Sylvia Plath splendidly draws us into Esther’s breakdown with such power that Esther’s craziness turns out to be discernibly genuine, even normal—as regular as going to the cinema. A probing infiltration into the darkest and most nerve-racking corners of the human mind, The Bell Jar is a remarkable achievement.
“If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I’m neurotic as hell. I’ll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.”
The depictions in the novel are fresh and exact, regularly using words that one doesn’t often hear while talking or even reading. The book was simply one more addition to Plath’s verse and one more display of her writing capacities. From that point onward, the book devours you. Furthermore, Plath never truly portrays many characters as to their identity, but you still believe that you know them all personally.
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy’.”
It’s astonishing that this book was composed and distributed more than 40 years ago. It was a book which helped women to understand that they were not fighting alone, and uncovered things that the vast majority had normally pushed aside; both men and women. In any case, what is also astounding is that these themes are applicable to this day.
On the off chance that you believe you’re experiencing dejection, frenzy, perplexity about subjects relating to society and sex, or simply searching for a decent read, The Bell Jar is definitely the book for you.
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”
It feels like Sylvia Plath’s life actually overshadowed her artistic value; her self-portraying novel The Bell Jar resembled a confession booth, and readers tend to peruse it for all the bits of it. Ariel, in contrast, is a collection of sonnets distributed after Plath’s death, only a couple of years after her suicide. Truly we have Plath to thank for establishing the confession in verse form, and investigating subjects formerly forbidden such as suicide, psychological maladjustment, and household violence.
Sylvia’s brushstrokes create a combination of the weakened shades of Manet with the impressionistic forcefulness and dazzling tones of Pollock. Weakness and firm self-discipline are both present in shape and substance in this gathering of lyrics. A reader can experience a proud Sylvia in her Lady Lazarus, charming us with her rebellious affirmation:
Is an art,
like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
Furthermore, the reader should resolve not to think about her shocking suicide and her mental condition when she composed these verses. The reader should focus on the author, on the virtuoso, on the inventiveness which empowers right up to the end, on the noticeably general show-stoppers that offer solace and recovery, and on the streaming current of feeling. A few things are best left not sought, a few things should be detected as opposed to known, so you should choose to surrender to Sylvia’s voice.
“O God, I am not like you
In your vacuous black,
Stars stuck all over, bright stupid confetti.
Eternity bores me,
I never wanted it.”
Sylvia Plath’s use of colloquial dialect and her contemptuous tone cut the atmosphere and test the reader while her harmonious rhymes, organized in free verse with characteristic symbolism, make a dreamlike atmosphere that alleviates and strikes back like a cobra, drawing blood and acknowledgment.
“Who do you think you are?
A Communion wafer? Blubbery Mary?
I shall take no bite of your body,
Bottle in which I live,
I am sick to death of hot salt.
Green as eunuchs, your wishes
Hiss at my sins.
Off, off, eely tentacle!
There is nothing between us.”
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath’s diaries were published initially in 1982 in a vigorously compressed form approved by Plath’s husband, British poet Ted Hughes. Sixty percent of the book is material that is nowhere else made known, all the more completely uncovering the power of the writer’s closeness with her home and her artistic battles, and giving new understanding of both her continuous instability and the force with which she stared down her evil spirits.
As a result of her suicide at 30 years of age, numerous people have declared her either juvenile or crazy – while others have defended her honesty. The individuals who have championed her work discover they do so at individual cost. Sadly, her life and the conditions in which she lived and died have affected how she is read.
“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.”
Instinctively, one knows the implications that might be drawn while enjoying her verse. By reporting your love for Plath, you may be taken as one who prefers morbid images, odd tastes, and feminism.
On the off chance that you believe Plath is one of the more essential writers of the twentieth century and that she wrote some lastingly affected verse, one can’t deny the importance of her work.
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
Title Photo: Sylvia Plath