Topics of Interest Book Reviews
Samridhii Sharma 04 Sep, 2020 Views: 121
My first introduction to Plath's work was way back in school, when one of her poems ‘Mirror' graced the literature textbook. Equipped with a pencil and a teacher and those half-hearted summary books, to not really understand the dark undertones of her work, I was ridiculously unfazed.
After all these years, not far from the quarter life crisis myself I decided to plunge headfirst into her poetry and prose, only then I understood what she meant all those years ago.
From a glitzy New York hotel with glass paneled windows to the cold concrete basement of a psych ward, readers are lured into the myriad of emotions ranging from content, curiosity to self doubt ,utter hopelessness and lastly to hope. The Bell Jar is “an autobiographical apprentice work which I had to write in order to free myself from the past”, said Sylvia herself.
Contrary to the popular belief “The Bell Jar” is so much more than just depressing. It is full of those quick witty remarks and razor sharp humour that if you are not paying attention, will definitely miss it. It takes a dig on the dieting fads, gender stereotypes and knights in shining armour turning out to be judgemental hypocrites.
It really gives the insight into the societal beliefs and prejudices about women in particular. Where our heroine Esther Greenwood, tries so hard to forge her identity in a world which is conflicted, harsh and misogynistic. She has all the assets of being passed off as someone successful or on the verge of it and absolutely nothing suggests of her internal struggle and hardship.
The Bell Jar is entirely based on thoughts and perceptions of someone who is experiencing the brokenness, delusion of the material world, relationships and the fallacy of human existence in general.
As we know that this is part fiction and knowing how it really ends for Sylvia, it is all the more heartbreaking. It is carefully composed and intricately designed as any piece of art is, Sylvia being a poet also contributes to the haunting beauty of this book.
The book also looks into the themes of mental illnesses and stigma related to it. Which to everybody's dismay is still prevalent.
A thin layer of glass separates her from everyone, and the novel’s title, itself made of glass, is evolved from her notion of disconnection: the head of each mentally ill person or any person for that matter is enclosed in a bell jar, choking on their own foul air.
My inability to express the beauty this holds is frustrating, my words are limited but this book is an ocean of emotions that everyone might relate to at some basic level.
P.S. - This is my copy of the book. I had the worst book hangover ever. That does not stop me from reaching out to it time and again. :)