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The Bell Jar

Average Rating 4.5
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(44)

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(16)

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(14)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Bell Jar belongs on your shelf!

Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar" reads like a wistful poem with its intriguing voice that echoes in the reader's ears long after the last page has been turned. Esther, the main character, is living what is supposed to be the perfect life for a young woman: she is attractiv...
Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar" reads like a wistful poem with its intriguing voice that echoes in the reader's ears long after the last page has been turned. Esther, the main character, is living what is supposed to be the perfect life for a young woman: she is attractive, academically successful, and is on her way to a glamorous career. But beneath this perfection pops up the depression which strangles her joy and smears misery into everything she does. The most magnificent part of the story is how I felt like I was drifting into the depression and insanity myself. This story is set in the mid-1900s, and it offers a fresh break from vampires and werewolves. Perfect for personal reading, "The Bell Jar" transcends beyond the super-cheery, life-is-perfect 'girl story' and offers something memorable all young adults can at least partially relate to.

posted by SilverrStarr on February 6, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

24 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

The Bell Jar Review

The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath is a troubling look into a young girls struggle with depression during the 1950's. The book begins with Esther, the main character, and her experience during an internship in New York. She finds herself unhappy with what is happening in her ...
The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath is a troubling look into a young girls struggle with depression during the 1950's. The book begins with Esther, the main character, and her experience during an internship in New York. She finds herself unhappy with what is happening in her life. Her unhappiness escalates quickly and continues throughout the book. The book gives a clear depiction of how depression can consume your life.

Throughout the novel, Esther's slowly grows and pulls you as a reader in. Plath's description of Esther's decent into "the bell jar" is chilling; it almost seems that her depression is logical. The bell jar being Esther's feeling of being trapped and suffocated. Soon Esther finds herself unhappy with everything and resorting to unhealthy measures.

I thought this book was a gripping view into a girl's life. It was not action packed of filled with suspense but it was a interesting tale of how deep someone can fall into depression. I would recommend this book to others. It has great description and good attention to detail. Overall the books writing style can really grab you if you let it.

posted by 2407844 on December 11, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2009

    The Bell Jar Review

    The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath is a troubling look into a young girls struggle with depression during the 1950's. The book begins with Esther, the main character, and her experience during an internship in New York. She finds herself unhappy with what is happening in her life. Her unhappiness escalates quickly and continues throughout the book. The book gives a clear depiction of how depression can consume your life.

    Throughout the novel, Esther's slowly grows and pulls you as a reader in. Plath's description of Esther's decent into "the bell jar" is chilling; it almost seems that her depression is logical. The bell jar being Esther's feeling of being trapped and suffocated. Soon Esther finds herself unhappy with everything and resorting to unhealthy measures.

    I thought this book was a gripping view into a girl's life. It was not action packed of filled with suspense but it was a interesting tale of how deep someone can fall into depression. I would recommend this book to others. It has great description and good attention to detail. Overall the books writing style can really grab you if you let it.

    24 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2007

    Disappointing

    I admit that I was dying to read the book once I heard of it - rushed to this store with the excuse that I needed it for school, when in reality it was a lie. I I was deeply intrigued by the beginning of the story, I couldn't leave the book alone - it joined me everywhere I went, but soon enough it lost that spark. I don't see 'her rapid downward spiral,' to me it was just her usual insane escapades, nothing more. Although it is interesting to know that this was Plath's account of her insanity, I must say I was let down by that second portion of the novel.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    Boring towards end

    When i was reading the beginning of the book, it was really exciting. I loved it. Now i am on page 85 or so and it is pretty boring. It has no climax, and even though i usually dont read adventure books,i wanted more.the beginning had many funny situations (like to kill a mocking bird) but were i am now all she talks about is what she pysically sees. It is sort of disapointing. Nothing is happening.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2013

    .

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    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Plath's Repertoire

    This novel was initially released under a pseudonym (of which I cannot recall as of now,) because Plath felt it was not her best work. She was correct. "Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams" is a far better survey of Plath's prose work. In this story her protagonist is very distant to the reader. I feel as if Esther (the first-person narrator throughout the book) lacks depth. And usually a story with a deep theme needs a deeper psychological insight. In Plath's "The Bell Jar" this did not happen. Plath said herself she felt this story was not representative of her work. She was correct. I gave her three stars because of her word choice--not quite as good as her poetry or short stories, but hey, this is Plath, she can work with anything.

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  • Posted November 21, 2008

    Not as good as her poetry.

    Throughout the story, the bell jar rentained this sentimental and self-sympathizing aura along with a seemingly non-existant purpose. I am aware that the story is semi-autobiographical but I much preferred Plath's elaboratly and complex poetry as opposed to her novel. An easy read, but a disapointment.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2007

    A Realistic Portrayal of the Human Mind, Yet Mildly Boring As An Overall Read

    Sylvia Plath does an excellent job portraying how Esther loses her grip on sanity, as both the pressure she feels from society and from herself finally prove too onerous for her to bear. As society expects her to simply follow the expectations of a generic woman during the 1950s, she challenges such stereotypes as she strives to gain a reputation as an accomplished person of literature. Because Plath's poetic background helps paint the text of this novel with wonderful similes and metaphors that epitomize Esther's feelings, a great sense of artistic value exists in the piece of literature. Nevertheless, while Plath's novel includes various valuable literary elements and intricate analyses of the human mind, her writing style makes way for a very bland and rather boring reading experience. Though it may seem ironic for her work to contain so many similes and metaphors and yet still come across as bland, that is the impression readers may have first gained after reading the book. Aside from all of the literary devices she uses to characterize Esther, she more or less tells the reader everything in the style of a simple first person narrative. She includes no suspense, action 'obviously', or even a real sense of remorse when Esther feels depressed. The reader does not feel the excitement when Esther turns optimistic about her possible return to college at the end, nor does the reader feel the sorrow Esther must feel when she contemplates suicide. Of course, the possibility exists that Plath was trying to exemplify the lack of emotion Esther feels in her current state of mind by writing in such a passive tone. Either way, her writing is rather jumpy, switching from one topic to another without any smooth transition in between, not only making it harder to understand what was going on until the end of the chapter, but making it increasingly boring as well. It is a slow paced read and is not exactly what one would consider a page turner, but it still holds a great message for everyone. The book helps its readers learn not to let their emotions affect them as negatively as Esther's emotions affect her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2006

    my point of view nadnie

    the bell jar in an okay book for people 16 years and over. it was fun the stories was not really that dramtic but that can past for a kind of drama sad book . The sad part is not thta author but it her friend how hanged her self at the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    The Bell Jar is a good book. . .

    I wasn't impressed with this book like others I have read, but I can't say that i could have done any better. The main reason I kept reading this book is because it is the only fiction book I've read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2006

    recommended

    I thought this book was very well written, Sylvia Plath is a very talented writter. Although at first the book was a little confusing, the auther kept you interested. It is a real page turner. I couldn't wait to finish it. By the end of the book I was amazed. I recommend this book to everyone. I am positive this book will touch you in some way. Young women can really relate to Sylvia Plath's concepts of this story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2006

    It's a must read!

    Sylvia plath did a good job on writng this book as far as keeping the readers attention. Although the book had a little too many things going on such as conflicts, characters, and places.She did a very good job with the character Esther who stuggled with many issues from her teen years until she was a young woman.But besides that it was a good book I recommend it to young girls who are dealing with self-esteem and confidence issues and see what they can change for themselves from reading the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2004

    Ending?

    The book itself is pretty good. It takes a little while for it to get started and then it is good but the ending is not very good!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2003

    MY Pinion

    In my opinnion i thought the book was ok, maybe it didnt interest me very much by the way she talked about her life, and just the way the book went it was kind of boaring for a high school student to read. but it wasnt the worst book i read but my least favorite book i read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2002

    A book of depression

    This book was good, but I would not say it was perfect. After reading through the first chapter, I could not relate to it. Then it took me a few more chapters to see what the point of view was about. If you read this book, you can relate to depression. If you are get depress and think you are the only person that does, then you should read this book, and she what she went there to get out of the stressful pain in life. The book does get into a better conflict in the middle of the chapters. I think every one should read this book at least once. Been that I had to choose a book from this list that I have to read, I choose this first to see how the author relate to the character Esther.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2000

    The Bell Jar

    'The Bell Jar,' is a very deep novel written by Sylvia Plath. Plath takes us on a journey through her life, and we see how the monster of depression wins many battles. At first, Esther, the protagonist, won a contest for her written works in a magazine. She and several women spend long hours with each other in a luxury hotel in New York. Some of their activities include: fashion shows, watching new hit films, and constantly eating. In this part of the novel, Esther meets two characters. Both of them are completely different from herself but she admires them and somehow feels a sense of hope for the future. These two foil characters were named Doreen and Betsy. Doreen was a very laid back, go-with-the-flow type of women, who impressed men, and enjoyed herself tremendously. Betsy was an innocent, quiet type of girl, who Esther could relate to as the held each other in the elevator after being poisoned. After returning home to her mother and finding out she was rejected from taking a dream coarse, Esther seeps deeper and deeper into a never ending black whole. She tries to commit suicide several times. After overdosing on pills, she is send to a hospital and given shock treatments. At this particular hospital she causes a ruckus and is transferred. Then, she met Dr. Nolan who gave her a sense of security. She also comes across an old friend who repulses her. After several more shock treatments, never as bad as her first experience, we see Esther move up in the world. We watch as this young lady starts getting privileges, and eventually becomes cured. The reader is then relieved to end the book on a happy note! Throughout the whole novel we see how Esther's mother wanted the best for her daughter. Today, we see this all the time. Women could also relate to the way Buddy Willard made Esther feel that men were superior. Just because a baby is born, doesn't mean a women observer has to step out of the room. The neatest thing, is how slowly Plath shows us the gradual downfall of our main character. The scenes change rapidly but we never sense a point of confusion because the narrarator keeps the same dark outlook on life throughout the novel. It's almost like she wants to make the worst out of every possible situation, because she thinks that it will turn to disaster anyway. The social significance of this book was to show how a women plunges into a nightmare where no one takes her seriously or understand her. Not once did anyone ask Esther how she felt towards one subject or another. Her mothers love was obvious but Esther's lack of being congenial led her down the dark path. Also, today in the world, some women are still treated differently then men. Sometimes they are really being mentally abused. I feel that at first, Esther was being abused by the world because she never had her chance to be the center of attention. But, as time went on, Esther developed into a state of confusion where she only knew one way to think towards everything. And, not only was she pessimistic, but she had no motivation. It was upset to watch a women have hope for a change or lift in life but have no clue as to what or who was going to to it for her. As you can see, the tone throughout this book is very gloomy and depressing. This can be a turn off for some readers but I give this book three stars because I feel that the tone makes the book the way it is. If this hadn't been an autobiography, the reader would have never grasped the concept of a women's plummet into depression. I highly recommend this book for anyone feeling sad because this book made me realize, in more than one way, how to handle depression. Plath created an amazingly moving book before she tragically committed suicide, and I am thankful for 'The Bell Jar.'

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    Posted May 30, 2010

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    Posted January 31, 2009

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    Posted February 18, 2009

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    Posted February 27, 2010

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    Posted December 2, 2009

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