The Bell Jar

by Sylvia Plath | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0571226167 Global Overview for this book
Registered by BookGroupMan of Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on 6/25/2007
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, June 25, 2007
Bought for the inaugural Ipswich 'splinter' book group in July'07...I have a copy coming to me as part of a bookray, but I can't wait ;)

(16/07) Finished - review to follow

Journal Entry 2 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Plath’s only novel albeit semi-autobiographical, published under a pseudonym in 1963, a few weeks before her suicide.

Firstly, some criticisms, I felt that, despite the engaging story, delicate and descriptive prose, I found the 1st person style a bit monotone, maybe she was trying to reflect too accurately the disaffection, then ennui and depression as it begins to affect Esther Greenwood. Also, the second part of the book, her journey through the US psychiatric system leading to eventual recovery (we assume?), was very similar to ‘Girl, Interrupted’ – not Plath’s fault, but there must be more than one way to describe the decline into madness and its treatment, unless all madness and all such institutions are the same. Discuss!

With these reservations, I did enjoy the book, and it will make for an interesting discussion at our first Ipswich ‘splinter’ book group.

Some highlights, observations, quotes etc.

A very jaded view on marriage and wives, from a man, ‘…what he secretly wanted when the wedding service ended was for her to flatten out under his feet like Mrs Willard’s kitchen mat.’ Is this where the ‘doormat’ phrase comes from?

Esther compared her options, her infinite branching of possible paths, as figs (from an earlier short story), although caught in a trap of confusion and inaction, ‘I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig-tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which fig to choose.’

The ‘bell jar’ metaphor makes its appearance quite late in the book, and then used to track Esther’s recovery. Seeing no respite from her own condition, “wherever I sat…I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air’”

In the end Esther does take control of her own life, guiding herself, ‘by a magical thread’, which linked back to the start of the book and her sense of unreality and lack of direction in New York.

Journal Entry 3 by BookGroupMan at Caffe Nero IP1 book-crossing zone in Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom on Friday, September 07, 2007

Released 12 yrs ago (9/8/2007 UTC) at Caffe Nero IP1 book-crossing zone in Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom

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Taking along to the BookCrossing meet-up to share or leave on the Caffe Nero shelves

Journal Entry 4 by wingcandy-is-dandywing from Great Bardfield, Essex United Kingdom on Saturday, September 08, 2007
Picked up at the Ipswich meet having read some positive and negative comments about this book. Something serious to read when I'm in the mood.

Journal Entry 5 by wingcandy-is-dandywing from Great Bardfield, Essex United Kingdom on Saturday, August 15, 2009
I know I should have read this by now and I really would like to read it but seem to spend time reading much less worthy stuff - which is often disappointing.

Sending this to bookgroupman'sdaughterorwife (not sure which), on request. Maybe it'll work it's way back to me sometime.

Journal Entry 6 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, September 07, 2009
Back 'home' again thank you Carolynne :) Who knows I might get might DD to write a journal entry to thank you herself, but who knows, she's a teenage girl after all!!

My non-bookcrossing daughter has appropriated this, ho hum, I may steal it back sometime; she has to leave home eventually ;)

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