When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther´s life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into depression and eventually a suicide attempt, as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women´s aspirations seriously.
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath´s only novel, was originally published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The novel is partially based on Plath´s own life and descent into mental illness, and has become a modern classic. The Bell Jar has been celebrated for its darkly funny and razor sharp portrait of 1950s society and has sold millions of copies worldwide.
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied at Smith College. In 1955 she went to Cambridge University on a Fulbright scholarship, where she met and later married Ted Hughes. She published one collection of poems in her lifetime, The Colossus (1960), and a novel, The Bell Jar (1963); Ariel was published posthumously in 1965. Her Collected Poems, which contains her poetry written from 1956 until her death, was published in 1981 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
I was hooked from the first page on. Plath's writing is poetically enchanting. The effect of mental displacement and objectification is shown well through metafictional MC Esther.I was hooked from the first page on. Plath's writing is poetically enchanting. The effect of mental displacement and objectification is shown well through metafictional MC Esther.
Ein schnell lesbarer, ausgesprochen wichtiger Roman, der natürlich sehr beklemmend wirkt, aber gerade damit unheimlich wichtige Themen aufgreift. Neben den Schwierigkeiten der weiblichen Selbstfindung nimmt das Thema Depression einen Großteil der Geschichte ein - und die Autorin beleuchtet die Zustände der damaligen Zeit mit schockierender Genauigkeit. Sehr bewegend.
I'm on the fence about this one. I truly don't know what I'm feeling right now, after finishing this book.
It's just that I didn't connect with any of the characters. Everyone except Esther was not developed and complex at all. I know that it fits the story that...I'm on the fence about this one. I truly don't know what I'm feeling right now, after finishing this book.
It's just that I didn't connect with any of the characters. Everyone except Esther was not developed and complex at all. I know that it fits the story that the characters are shallow, it still bothered me, though.
I myself do not know how it is like to be depressed so I can only judge with my very limited experience that Esther's descent into depression was portrayed accurately.
This book was originally published in 1963 and for its time period it was quite a progressive novel: a female protagonist who rejects the gender roles of the 1950s put upon her. Who does not just want to be a baby-popping housewife. In that way I could relate to Esther very easily.
While I could not really appreciate Esther's story I would still recommend this book.