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The Bell Jar (1963)

de Sylvia Plath

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24,452429104 (3.97)548
Beautiful and gifted, with a bright future, Esther Greenwood descends into depression, suicidal thoughts, and madness while interning at a New York City magazine.
Adicionado recentemente porRennie90, haveasafenight, biblioteca privada, meowbooks, AnnMaryVinoj, KellyHT, squeagel, Emily0310, MadiLuxury
Bibliotecas HistóricasSylvia Plath, Juice Leskinen, Astrid Lindgren
To Read (14)
Teens (5)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 428 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
"If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed."

'The Bell Jar' is Sylvia Plath's only full-length prose work and was written in the early 1960's. It is an autobiographical novel that relates the descent into madness of Plath's alter-ego, Esther Greenwood. The novel was initially published under a pseudonym and only appeared under Plath's real name in 1966, three years after she had committed suicide.

The story covers a year in the life of Esther Greenwood. Initially she seems to have a rosy future in front of her, she is an 'A' student who is top in all her classes and she wins a competition for a month's all-expenses paid trip to New York to do some work for a prestigious fashion magazine. However, her time in the city heralds the start of her mental breakdown.

Back at home she drops out of college and lazes about the house, her mother worries that she is ill and takes her see to a psychiatrist. But when she is referred to a unit that specializes in shock therapy Esther's condition spirals even further downwards and she finally decides to that her only recourse is to commit suicide. Her attempt fails and she is sent to an asylum.

Esther slowly starts her road to recovery, but a friend at the hospital, Joan, isn't so lucky. Joan commits suicide but this acts as a catalyst for Esther to take control of her life albeit with the realisation that her illness could return and threaten it at any time.

The novel takes the reader inside the experience of a severe mental illness. When Esther considers suicide, she looks into the mirror and manages to see herself as a completely separate person, disconnected from the world and herself. Plath is very careful not to blame her illness on outside events.

However, Plath does attack the notion of the importance of chastity in women outside marriage, a health system that fails women and a society that expects women to simply settle down to marriage and children.

Esther is quiet, introverted and socially awkward but she is also a rebel. She is determined to free herself from societal expectations of what she should become, she disdains what she regards as the hypocrisy and double standards of a misogynistic society which sees a woman's virginity as the sole standard of her virtuous nature whilst at the same time encouraging and applauding sexual activity by men. She deliberately goes out looking for someone who will take her virginity to relieve herself of that burden. Esther is also disappointed by how the medical system like so many others is dominated by men who don't understand or recognise the pain felt by women. Her descent into madness is the direct result of callous and indifferent treatment that she receives from he initial psychiatrist, a man.

There is a powerful honesty to this novel and is a stunning portrayal of a particular period in Plath's life and the brave attempt to face her own demons. Thankfully some of the societal issues that this story attacks are not so prevalent today, even if they haven't gone completely, but all the same it still feels relevant and deserves to be on the 1001 list. ( )
1 vote PilgrimJess | Nov 8, 2021 |
First I will address my issues with the book. One, the racism. Although this is not unexpected from a writer from Sylvia Plath's time, many people do not address it when talking about the book. Maybe just a warning would have been nice. I'm also not the only reader with this criticism. Aside from the more problematic aspects of the book, I found the plot enjoyable and the text easy. I also read the book in three days. A special book to me but I also acknowledge it isn't the best or least problematic book of all time. ( )
  Jenna.Schetty | Nov 7, 2021 |
The Bell Jar is one of the darkest and poignant books that I have ever read. The novel starts with the main character, Esther, talking about her life. I thought it was pretty slow at first. Esther often sounded pretentious and the time frame of the story really confused me. Then all of a sudden Esther falls into a deep spiral of depression. Her life and the story completely shifts in the second half, almost as if you are reading a completely different book. There is no single person that could read this book and not be affected or touched by it. My favorite quote is the one about the fig tree and choosing your path in life. It really spoke to me. Plath's writing is exceptional and this book really shows how smart and talented she was. ( )
  alexp24 | Nov 4, 2021 |
I liked it but some of the themes were too hard to read about. Maybe if I'd read it at some other time in my life I would have enjoyed it more.
Despite that, Sylvia Plath's writing is undoubtedly very good. ( )
  _Marcia_94_ | Sep 21, 2021 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 428 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Esther Greenwood's account of her year in the bell jar is as clear and readable as it is witty and disturbing. It makes for a novel such as Dorothy Parker might have written if she had not belonged to a generation infected with the relentless frivolity of the college- humor magazine. The brittle humor of that early generation is reincarnated in "The Bell Jar," but raised to a more serious level because it is recognized as a resource of hysteria.
 

» Adicionar outros autores (39 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Plath, Sylviaautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Ames, LoisBiographical Noteautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Dorsman-Vos, W.A.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Fleckhaus, WillyDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Gyllenhaal, MaggieNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kaiser, ReinhardTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kurpershoek, RenéTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.
[Foreword] You might think that classics like The Bell Jar are immediately recognized the moment they reach a publisher's office.
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That's one of the reasons I never wanted to get married. The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket. (p. 69)
The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way.
"We'll take it up where we left off, Esther," she had said, with her sweet, martyr's smile. "We'll act as if all of this were a bad dream" A bad dream. To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream. A bad dream. I remembered everything. I remembered the cadavers and Doreen and the story of the fig tree and Marco's diamond and the sailor on the Common and Doctor Gordon's wall-eyed nurse and the broken thermometers and the Negro with his two kinds of beans and the twenty pounds I gained on insulin and the rock that bulged between sky and sea like a gray skull. Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind snow, should numb and cover them. But they were part of me. They were my landscape. (p. 181)
I took a deep breath, and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.
I began to think that maybe it was true that when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed, and afterward you went about numb as a slave in some private, totalitarian state. (p. 70)
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Beautiful and gifted, with a bright future, Esther Greenwood descends into depression, suicidal thoughts, and madness while interning at a New York City magazine.

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Biblioteca Histórica: Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath tem uma Biblioteca Histórica. As bibliotecas históricas são bibliotecas privadas de leitores famosos introduzidas por membros do LibraryThing que integram o grupo Biblioteca Históricas.

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