The Bell Jar: The Real Definition of Dark and Gloomy Book

Friday, May 01, 2020

The Bell Jar

"If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed." 

Title: The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Year of published: 1999 (first published in 1963 by Willia Heinemann Limited)
Number of pages: 257

The Bell Jar is Sylvia Plath's only novel. Renowned for its intensity and outstandingly vivid prose, it broke existing boundaries between fiction and reality and helped to make Plath an enduring feminist icon. 
It was published under a pseudonym a few weeks before the author's suicide.

A gift from my lecturer when I was in college

Finally I understand why this book is very dark and gloomy. Then, I also understand why many people said that Sylvia Plath is a feminist icon in her era.

To be honest, I never expect that I could have this book. Yeah, my lecturer suddenly gave this book in one of my consultation session. After that, I made promised that I have to read this book. No matter how hard and dark is the story.

At first, it was very hard to read this book. Moreover, the language is somehow couldn't be understood easily. Then, the story itself is overlapping. So, I was a little bit confused when I read this book.

I have to agree with the synopsis of this book. This is a shocking, realistic, and intense story about women. Esther Greenwood is a student with a brilliant future. She got a scholarship, opportunity get an internship program in the prominent company, and so on. You can say that she is very fortunate.

But then, everything that Esther feel seems very confusing. She didn't know what's the purpose of her life. She couldn't decide what she want to do in her life. After that, Esther was very broken. She couldn't think. At first, writing is Esther's way to live. She could express many things through her writing. Even, she knew that she was best at writing. Then, after all of those realization, Esther couldn't write anymore.

Esther was losing herself. She just felt that she live inside the bell jar without any way out. In the end, Esther has tried to end her life. She felt no longer important to live anymore.

Source: wallpaper fiare, edited by me
A lot of things happened in this book. Mental health? Suicidal thought? Feminism? Social moral? Yeah, I think you could find all of those issues in this book. This is indeed a dark and gloomy book.

Some people said that this book could be defined as a journey of Esther's craziness. Well, it's not false at all. From this book, I exactly can feel how people act toward someone who ever tried to suicide. I know person like Esther is very fragile. But, it doesn't mean that she was crazy, right? Of course she needs help from professional, but the way everyone around her look upon her is very complicated.

To be honest, I wonder, how much similar the life of Esther and Sylvia? This story in someway felt so realistic. Maybe I won't be surprised at all if Esther is Sylvia herself. The fact that Sylvia end her self after this book has published, made me felt that maybe The Bell Jar is the final thought from Sylvia towards everything. This book is about Sylvia's thought about women, writing, life, mental health, and suicide.

I have to admit that I got some difficulties to finish this group. I almost give up every time I read this book. But, finally I can finish it and got many lessons from it.

I really don't want to recommend you to read this book if you don't have any stable condition.

4 out of 5 stars for the only one book from Sylvia Plath.

Puji P. Rahayu

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  1. Yeah, this book was a very good read. But it's definitely read by people who are coping well with this pandemic. There is a lot of dark material in it for sure.

    And I've always assumed that Esther was based on Sylvia. I don't have any evidence that was the author's intention, however.

    1. Agree with you, Lidya. This book is indeed full of dark material.

      Well, Esther resembles a lot with Sylvia. Seems so.


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