Monday, February 11, 2013

The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar  by Sylvia Plath
Weight: 8.8 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving in a book box in East Atlanta or Oakhurst

It is a dull, dreary, rainy, sleepy day and thus, probably a good day to get rid of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar.  I first read this book in high school and then, as a junior, I reread it and attempted to write my first serious literary comparison.  I had a vivid memory of it several weeks ago but now I cannot remember what the topic actually was.   I know that I read a lot of books and did so much work to get that paper done.  I was only suppose to write a short paper on one book, but I got special permission from my English teacher to take on a much larger project.  I got so caught up in reading every Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Elizabeth Wurtzel book I could find that I became overwhelmed with information and turned in a terrible paper.  I believe I got a very disappointing "B."  I deserved lower, if you just looked at quality, but I worked so hard.  It was so worth it though.  Little did I realize that the next year I would write an even more daunting paper on "The Sexual Connotations of Little Red Riding Hood" and then after that would attend a private college where you would be assigned a ten page paper in a math class and a 20-30 page paper in an English class and so on and so forth until you got to your thesis work, which was particularly big if you double majored, like me.  I needed that failing paper to get it out of my system, learn how to organize, and move on.

The Bell Jar.  It appealed to me because of the strong-minded woman narrating it.  I underlined, "And I knew that in spite of all the roses and kisses and restaurant dinners a man showered on a woman before he married her, what he secretly wanted when the wedding service ended was for her to flatten out underneath his feet like Mrs. Willard's kitchen mat(85)."  I related to her desolation and her disillusionment with the world and the people that inhabited it.  "The figures around me weren't people, but shop dummies, painted to resemble people and propped up in attitudes counterfeiting life (142)."  I understood the pain behind people's throw away comments.  The ones about your own reality that people make when they try to care but cannot wrap their head or heart around what you are showing them. 
                    My mother smiled. "I knew my baby wasn't like that."
                    I looked at her.  "Like what?"
                    "Like those awful people.  Those awful dead people at that hospital." She paused.  "I
                    knew you'd decide to be alright again (145-146)."

I am somewhere else in life now.  Far, far away from the experiences of Esther Greenwood/Sylvia Plath.  I still have dreary, dim, daunting, alliterative days and sometimes I even fall into depression but never with the same gusto and, if I do, it is only with the help of some sort of hormonal medication that throws everything out of whack but that I can recognize, gather support for, and move on from.

Today, I am just slightly sad and slightly sleepy.  Goodbye, Bell Jar, go spread your word.


  1. It would be really hard for me to let this one go.

  2. It is hard, and I thought of you. Silver and exact.