Monday, April 4, 2016

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

"Sylvia Plath was an excellent poet but is known to many for this largely autobiographical novel which was first published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The Bell Jar has become a classic of American literature.

The book is based on her own experience yet one has to be careful not to confuse this novel with an autobiography, it has been written with a certain audience and effect in mind, 10 years after the actual events.

Esther, an A-student from Boston who has won a guest editorship on a national magazine, finds a bewildering new world at her feet. Her New York life is crowded with possibilities, so that the choice of future is overwhelming, but she can no longer retreat into the safety of her past. Deciding she wants to be a writer above all else, Esther is also struggling with the perennial problems of morality, behaviour and identity. In this compelling autobiographical novel, a milestone in contemporary literature, Sylvia Plath chronicles her teenage years - her disappointments, anger, depression and eventual breakdown and treatment - with stunning wit and devastating honesty. --Penguin Books "

I picked up this book for only one reason – It is mentioned several times on the Gilmore Girls.  Lorelai and Rory are warming up in front of their gas oven and Lorelai says,”Did anyone ever think that maybe Sylvia Plath wasn’t crazy, she was just cold?”

This statement intrigued me so I did some research on Sylvia Plath which led me to her book, “The Bell Jar.”

“The Bell Jar” is described as the Memoir of Sylvia Plath and her descent into mental illness.  It was during the era of electrical shock treatments.  It is a sad book. – but not depressing. 
{over the last year I have discovered the difference between sadness and depression.}

It’s a short book – easy to read.

The comment made by Lorelai on The Gilmore Girls referred to the fact that Sylvia Plath did indeed stick her head in the gas oven and commit suicide on February 11, 1963. Her book “The Bell Jar” was published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas on January 14, 1963.

You may read about Sylvia Plath  H.E.R.E.

A passage worth noting from “The Bell Jar” -
     “A girl lives in some out-of-the-way town for 19 years, so poor she can’t afford a magazine, and then she gets a scholarship to college and wins a prize here and a prize there and ends up steering New York like her own private car.”

I’m glad I read it.


  1. It can be a hard read emotionally...

    1. Yes, it can. No matter who is reading, I'm sure they see some similarities which always causes one to pause.