Friday, May 16, 2008

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This is an auto-biographical novel about a young woman's breakdown. The book opens with Esther Greenwood on an apprenticeship to a fashion magazine in New York. When she returns home, she is already deeply troubled. Her mother seems to believe she can just snap out of it. She tries to kill herself with sleeping pills and is found. She is institutionalized for six months.

Just before her release from the asylum, her doctor tells her that a lot of people will avoid her:

"My mother's face floated to mind, a pale, reproachful moon, at her last and first visit to the asylum since my twentieth birthday. A daughter in an asylum! I had done that to her. Still, she had obviously decided to forgive me.

" 'We'll take up where we left off, Esther,' she had said, with her sweet, martyr's smile. 'We'll act as if all 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."

I rate this book 3 out of 5.

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