“The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath

So I read this book a few months ago and was enthralled by it’s beautiful writing. The novel is an extremely heavy novel and I wouldn’t suggest reading it unless you’re in the right mind set. Seriously!

The Bell Jar is Plath’s only novel and is definitely worth a read. According to many reviews and analysis of the novel, it’s apparently auto-biographical (with character names changed). The protagonist, Esther Greenwood, is supposed to represent Plath herself.

The novel follows Esther’s battle with depression. Throughout the novel Esther describes herself as different than all the people she meets. She can’t seem to find happiness in anything that she does, even her amazing internship at a magazine in New York.

Esther’s depression worsens to the point where she attempts suicide several times throughout the novel. The Bell Jar was first published in the UK in 1963 under the pseudonym “Victoria Lucas,” a month before Plath herself committed suicide. The novel was eventually published under Plath’s name and is her only novel.

If you’ve read any of Plath’s poetry then you should give her novel a go. The writing is still very poetic, but obviously different from her poetry. Once again, I’m warning you that this book is an extremely heavy read, so unless you’re ready to immerse yourself into a character who feels as though she’s “trapped under a bell jar” and unable to breathe, I suggest you wait until you are ready for it. It is a great read and should be read by everyone at least once. Good luck!

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