“To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is a bad dream.”

24 October 2014

The Bell Jar has been on my mind ever since I finished it. I've been trying to gather my thoughts about it, to make sense of what it made me feel... and honestly I don't know.

I'm not good at writing something meaningful about the deepness of classical books. I try, but making my scattered ideas sense to others is nearly impossible, so just bear with me. I'm vomiting words here.
I've been feeling... down lately. I don't really know why... there's a lot of crazy stuff going on with my life and I've just been finding myself kind of depressed at times. Don't worry about me, I'm starting to feel better. I say this because that was one of the reasons why I decided to pick this book up.

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic. 
I don't know what my logic was. "Hey, I've been feeling not-so-great, how about I read a book about a depressed, insane person to make me feel better! Yeah!" I don't even know... But, despite all that, I found this to be one of the most interesting and beautiful little books I have ever read in my life!

It's very extremely dark. I absolutely love darkness in literature. I found it so interesting to be able to go into the mind of Esther. When I told my Mom that this book was told in first person from an insane person's point of view, she couldn't understand why in the world I would ever want to read it.

Crazy people fascinate me. I wonder what it is that makes them crazy, what do they think, how do they feel. (But, they also completely terrify me, which is why I shall never be a psychiatrist.) And I found, quite surprisingly, that the mind of someone who is insane isn't all that strange. Many of the thoughts that Esther had about things and life I also have thought. (Obviously not the thoughts she has about killing herself.) We were very much a like. Just look!
“I am sure there are things that can't be cured by a good bath but I can't think of one.” 
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
“When they asked me what I wanted to be I said I didn't know.
"Oh, sure you know," the photographer said.
"She wants," said Jay Cee wittily, "to be everything.” 
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
"I'm not sure why it is, but I love food more than just about anything else. No matter how much I eat, I never put on weight. With one exception I've been the same weight for ten years." -- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (story of my life!)
Knowing what I do about Sylvia Plath (I just had to do some research on her, of course) made me appreciate this book much more. Seeing how she weaved in the tale of her own tragic life and struggles through her absolutely gorgeous writing was both inspiring and heartbreaking. There are so many amazing quotes I could fill this post with.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. It deals with very mature topics at times, and it could be hard for people to swallow it. Esther has absolutely no hope that she will ever feel better, that her life will ever go back to normal, and it's difficult to get through, especially at the end there.  But I feel like it is a very raw and important book that everyone should at least try to read in their lifetime.It made me appreciate the hope I have that my life will turn out okay in the end, no matter how crazy or down I might feel.
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, "This is what it is to be happy.” 
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar


  1. Great post- that sounds like such an interesting book. The quotes alone make me want to read it :)

  2. Hey Hannah, I tagged you for the Bookshelf Challenge over at my blog. I know you're busy right now, so there's no pressure to do it right away.