The Bell Jar
This book is intended to provide help for students studying the novel "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath, as well as create a framework for further analysis of particular chapters, characters or themes from the book.
Overview[edit | edit source]
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is a novel with a troubled publishing history. It is the only book by Plath, written under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas around 1961. At first, publishing companies rejected the unknown author, even the company that published Plath’s poetry. The book was first published in 1963. It received moderate praise, reasonable sales and was eventually forgotten. Only three years later, after Plath’s death, the book was published again, this time with her real name on the cover. This surprised everybody, publishers and editors included, making them fight each other for publishing rights, seeing as Plath’s works were very marketable after her shocking death. This revelation also allowed for more in-depth readings of The Bell Jar through the perspective of Plath’s life. The book is at the very least semi-autobiographical, incorporating many aspects of Plath’s life into a fictional environment.
The plot follows Esther Greenwood, a young woman on the brink of adulthood. The story of Esther is a story about dealing with depression, but also about dealing with the choices a young person faces in their life. Esther, finishing her studies in Massachusetts, seems to have her life under control, but after her experiences in New York during an internship she finds herself lost and incapable of making any decision regarding her future. She should be having the time of her life, with a bright future ahead of her. However, she finds herself powerless and idle, and she cannot find a reason why