The Bell Jar

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The Bell Jar

by Sylvia Plath

Harper Perennial | August 31, 2005 | Trade Paperback

The Bell Jar is rated 4.0769 out of 5 by 13.
"The Bell Jar" chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under -- maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that Esther's insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made "The Bell Jar" a haunting American classic.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 244 pages, 8.02 × 5.3 × 0.7 in

Published: August 31, 2005

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0060837020

ISBN - 13: 9780060837020

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Book but Needed Editing I enjoyed reading this book but the spelling and grammar mistakes were annoying because there were a lot of them. Nevertheless, it was a very interesting novel.
Date published: 2015-05-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good book but needed to be edited properly I enjoyed this book but the spelling and grammar mistakes were annoying. There were so many. The storyline was very good though and kept me interested.
Date published: 2015-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just the thing to restore your faith in the published word I ended up reading this back in August of '08 in order to wash my brain from the failure of Breaking Dawn. Thank GOD I had The Bell Jar from the library because all my other books were packed at the time and I would have been crying sad sad tears without it. Sylvia Plath was a treasure to the literary world. Her turn of phrase was refreshing and it was like reading poetry in fiction form. Each word in her sentences had a purpose and the images that were invoked were utterly amazing. The story didn't have to be action packed or adventurous. It affected me on a much deeper emotional level. Truly, truly enjoyable. It's always nice to read excellent composition after you've read abysmal composition. Makes it so you haven't lost faith in the published word.
Date published: 2009-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absorbing Until you read this book....there are no words to describe it.
Date published: 2009-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A sad tale The Bell Jar is about a girl, Esther who is promising in every way, she's smart and already at college as an english major. She also spent a summer as the apprentice of an editor of a major magazine. She has alot going for her. But when she is done at the magazine, and has to go home before college starts, she slowly starts to go insane. Sylvia has created a very realistic charater in Esther. It's easy to see how someone who seems to have alot going for her, could just give it all away. Esther is so human in her selfish, ego driven manner, yet she is also very down-to-earth in her own ways. Sylvia's writing is wonderful and could be enjoyed by anyone who is a fan of fiction. It is a novel I definitely recommend!
Date published: 2009-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Genius This book is insanely good. Really haunting. I don't think I've ever come across a book that is more well written. You get inside this person's head and the way she thinks is fascinating, alien. It definitely leaves you enriched.
Date published: 2008-12-14
Rated out of 5 by from Depressingly Delightful The Bell Jar is the story of Esther Greenwood, a young woman who gets an internship at a New York Magazine. Esther knows that she should be ecstatic and enjoying life in the big city, but she finds herself feeling rather numb and empty to the whole experience. She then decides she wants to spend her time writing a novel, but instead Esther Greenwood is pulled into a dark and murky depression. Soon Esther begins to contemplate suicide, later she attempts it, resulting in her being placed in a mental institution and being treated with electroshock therapy. I enjoyed The Bell Jar more than I thought I would considering its reputation. I think a lot of people can related to or sympathize with feeling numb to experiences that are supposed to be gleeful. The fact that the main character faces a lot of the same situations as the author, Sylvia Plath, did was one of the reasons I picked up this book. The Bell Jar was well written and had an easy, satisfying flow to it. I would have liked a little more detail about certain events in the novel, but being published in the 60's, the novel is less gritty than some of the novels written about depression and mental illness today. Sylvia Plath’s depression could really be felt in the writing, and even at the end of the book, I felt like her depression was still very palpable. The novel makes a lot of insightful observations about feelings of depression. When you consider the tragic death of Sylvia Plath, the novel takes on a whole added dimension because you know the serious intent of her writing. I would recommend this novel, but be prepared to feel less than cheerful after reading it.
Date published: 2008-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If ever I have another shock treatment... A review of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Sometimes it can be difficult to give a book a fair chance, especially when the reputation precedes its reading. Like Hemingway, or Sylvia Plath. Before reading THE BELL JAR I found myself desirous of not wanting to like it. I’d heard enough about tragedy and suicide beforehand to suspect the novel of being self-absorbed and depressing. My prejudicial expectations were shattered. THE BELL JAR is a sheer marvel. I had picked it up because of my interest in Fight Club and was reading it alongside Betty Freidan’s The Feminine Mystique. The parallels between THE BELL JAR and Fight Club are unbelievable . . . so much so that I’m convinced that Palahniuk must be familiar with it, although I’ve never come across its mention in an interview (aside from the ref in the film, which is absent in the novel). This passage “Only I wasn’t steering anything, not even myself” (2) reminds us of the insomnia of the narrator. Esther Greenwood, whose reality is becoming increasingly unreal, is also an insomniac. “It was comforting to know I had fallen and could fall no farther” (43) kind of sounds like hitting bottom. On a windy night in New York Greenwood doesn’t destroy her condo with explosives but tosses her entire wardrobe piece by piece, “like a loved one’s ashes,” into the dark heart of the city (107). Even the ending is reminiscent of Palahniuk's novel. It is enough to make you wonder. I really enjoyed Plath’s novel and if you’re interested in a an articulate account of mental breakdown and disintegration, you’ll probably like it too.
Date published: 2008-02-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth The Read The novel does start rather slow. In the begining it wasn't the most exciting piece of literature. However as the story unfolds, it turns absolutely amazing. As you get nearer the end its just such a beautifully written sad story about a girl who had it all, then the next minute it was gone. I know reading the begining may put you off but trust me as it continues it turns brilliant.
Date published: 2008-02-05
Rated 1 out of 5 by from absolutely depressing i had to read this book for a school project and it was horrible. Slyvia Plath based Esther Greenwood on herself and this semi-autobiographical novel takes us through Slyvia's troubled life. don't waste your time, it's an aweful book
Date published: 2008-01-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Review Boring!!! The life of Esther is not very interesting, yet the author feels it's necessary to go into painful detail about daily events within her life. I kept hoping that the book would get better, but as I continued reading, I realized that it wouldn't. Horrible book.
Date published: 2007-12-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from death and power eloquent writting. this book goes through any hard time in life and gives ideas of life and power. a deep dark plotline, but an overall good read
Date published: 2006-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Bell Jar "The Bell Jar" was something I really sunk into, not only because it was well-written and gripping, but also because it provided a window through which I was able to view a world slightly different than my own. It was a vivid account of a young woman's slow descent into an alternate state of mind. In fact, the progression into insanity is portrayed so fluently one hardly notices how she crosses the line. Not only a description of a mentally ill person, "The Bell Jar" is a classic coming of age story of a young woman, recommended to be read by all young people going through the difficult passage into adult life.
Date published: 2001-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Bell Jar A book to give woman a new name. This novel is brinking on feminist views but is lacking the annoyances. It gives a warm feeling and yet we endure the hardships and feel the strength. Plath should have written more fiction. It is something that I would have appreciated.
Date published: 2000-08-01

– More About This Product –

The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar

by Sylvia Plath

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 244 pages, 8.02 × 5.3 × 0.7 in

Published: August 31, 2005

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0060837020

ISBN - 13: 9780060837020

From the Publisher

"The Bell Jar" chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under -- maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that Esther's insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made "The Bell Jar" a haunting American classic.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

About the Author

Plath's best poetry was produced, tragically, as she pondered self-destruction---in her poems as well as her life---and she eventually committed suicide. She had an extraordinary impact on British as well as American poetry in the few years before her death, and affected many poets, particularly women, in the generation after. She is a confessional poet, influenced by the approach of Robert Lowell. Born in Boston, a graduate of Smith College, Plath attended Newnham College, Cambridge University, on a Fulbright Fellowship and married the British poet Ted Hughes. Of her first collection,The Colossus and Other Poems (1962), the Times Literary Supplement remarked, "Plath writes from phrase to phrase as well as with an eye on the larger architecture of the poem; each line, each sentence is put together with a good deal of care for the springy rhythm, the arresting image and---most of all, perhaps---the unusual word." Plath's second book of poetry, Ariel, written in 1962 in a last fever of passionate creative activity, was published posthumously in 1965 and explores dimensions of women's anger and sexuality in groundbreaking new ways. Plath's struggles with women's issues, in the days before the second wave of American feminism, became legendary in the 1970s, when a new generation of women readers and writers turned to her life as well as her work to understand the contradictory pressures of ambitious and talented women in the 1950s. The Bell Jar---first published under a pseudonym
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