THE BELL JAR

bell

AUTHOR- SYLVIA PLATH

PUBLISHED IN- 1963

PAGES- 204

SPOILERS AHEAD.

This book has been termed as an “autobiography” and is essentially about the descent into insanity and then getting out of it.

I was pretty disturbed to read about the electric shock treatments. Since the author had herself been through that, the accounts felt even more real. But then again, whatever marvel the humans have established, has come into being only after painful accounts on some other human beings.

What surprised me was that I was more interested in the part where she gradually recovers than the part where she grows insane. In a way, I found the latter part in parallel with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The yellow wallpaper”. It was pretty similar and I could find a familiar pattern with how they describe a person gradually going crazy.

“If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I’m neurotic as hell. I’ll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.”

While Esther (the protagonist) struggles to achieve perfection in her own terms, she finds herself slowly slipping away from reality. And I personally loved the above quote as I could relate to it. It has always been difficult for me to stick to one particular thing. How can you stick to something when you are aware that there are hundreds of other kinds of things out there for you, waiting to be discovered? So, I swing and more than often, find myself at broken places.

“To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is a bad dream.”

Those days when nothing seems to work, no amount of money invested gets you up and about, those are the days when you feel as if you have had it all. It is as if the universe has nothing new to offer you. Everything that you experience or feel is just an illusion made for you to pass away your time in living. It becomes difficult to imagine a bright light at the end of the tunnel then. That’s when you know that you are in the bell jar. Trapped, blank and static.

“How did I know that someday – at college, in Europe, somewhere, anywhere – the bell jar, with its stifling distortions, wouldn’t descend again?”

Towards the end although Esther feels cured, she is aware that it could very well happen to her again.

Apart from the awesome story line, I loved the way Sylvia made her sentences. The lines were crisp and to the point. I really enjoyed her style of story telling. I look forward to reading her collection of poems now.

P.S: I skipped Gone girl. I had read about 40% of it when my friends gave away the spoilers. I couldn’t be bothered to read any further. I watched the movie instead and really enjoyed the unfolding of the events there. Excellent performances by the lead artists.

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