The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is one of my favorite books to read over and over again. This classic book is the one that I chose for the 1960-1970 part of the 2016 Book Challenge. Written in 1963, this is Sylvia Plath’s only novel to be written.
Following Esther Greenwood from the moment she gets an internship in New York City at a prominent magazine, I am taken in. Esther gains what is supposed to be the internship of a lifetime. Yet, she seems to be unimpressed with the likes of the city that is around her. As the book goes on, we find that Esther does not fit in with the interns around her. She ends up finding herself depressed as she struggles to find her place in the journalism world. When she returns home to Boston, Massachusetts she goes to a writing course that she signs up for. However, not all goes to plan. As the book goes on, Esther starts to compare her depression to being trapped in a bell jar. She finds it harder to breath with every passing moment that is presented to her. After many failed suicide attempts, Esther starts to go to a female psychiatrist. Dr. Nolan tries to help her out, yet Esther finds herself in a mental institution. While Esther is in the institution Dr. Nolan talks about the freedom men have compared to women. When Esther’s stay at the institution is over she finds herself free from all of her fears of life going wrong by marrying the wrong man to vanish. Esther finds herself able to carry on with her life after many struggles.
The Bell Jar came out in 1963 to make some people think. Esther’s fears of being married to a man who is unloving and cruel resonates being trapped in a failed marriage. Sylvia Plath had several of the struggles that Esther was dealing with throughout her lifetime before she committed suicide. The Bell Jar is the book that I chose for my 1960-1970 book because of the many struggles that Esther faced, yet she was able to find the light in the end.