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The Bell Jar

About the Book

The Bell Jar

"I was supposed to be having the time of my life."

As it turns out, Esther Greenwood--brilliant, talented, successful, and increasingly vulnerable and disturbed--does have an eventful summer. The Bell Jar follows Esther, step by painful step, from her New York City June as a guest editor at a fashion magazine through the following, snow-deluged January. Esther slides ever deeper into devastating depression, attempts suicide, undergoes bungled electroshock therapy, and enters a private hospital. In telling her own story--based on Plath's own summer, fall, and winter of 1953-1954--Esther introduces us to her mother, her boyfriend Buddy, her fellow student editors, college and home-town acquaintances, and fellow patients. She scrutinizes her increasingly strained relationships, her own thoughts and feelings, and society's hypocritical conventions, but is defenseless against the psychological wounds inflicted by others, by her world, and by herself. Pitting her own aspirations against the oppressive expectations of others, Esther cannot keep the airless bell jar of depression and despair from descending over her. Sylvia Plath's extraordinary novel ("witty and disturbing," said the New York Times) ends with the hope, if not the clear promise, of recovery.

The Bell Jar
by Sylvia Plath

  • Publication Date: August 1, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
  • ISBN-10: 0060837020
  • ISBN-13: 9780060837020