Reads:The Bell Jar

8:39 AM


I am I am I am. 

You are a tree. You are the very trunk of the tree that you are sitting in and there are branches all around you. Each branch is a boy, a job, an idea, a city, a country. Each branch is an option. There is absolutely nothing holding you back, nothing that is going to push you from your place as the trunk of that tree, except for one thing: Time. 

First you have until the end of the month, then the week. Then. Then people, the ones you love, start offering up your options; So you didn't get into that writing course, why not take another summer course? Why not learn short-hand? Why not get ahead of the game and start your thesis? Why not, why not... 

Why not in your mind turns into why bother. Why bother changing out of pajamas when you will put them back on at night? Why bother changing into pajamas at all. Why bother washing your hair every single day. Why bother eating? You can't sleep. You go a few nights, a week, an entire month without sleeping. It's because of the damn tree. All those branches, which one do you grab? You wait too long and they all wither and die. 


Esther Greenwood can't write. She can't physically write out a note, or even a letter. She is an A student, she studies and studies and does not know when to stop. Until she is home one Summer, the Summer when she realized why she cannot write. She has no experience in anything.  Esther can't sleep so she is sent to therapy. It doesn't work, and she is sent for electroshock therapy. That, that goes wrong. Esther just wants to sleep, so she carefully swallows an entire bottle of pills, writes a note to her Mother, telling her that she is going for a long walk, then proceeds to crawl under her house. She is found and sent to an institution, which is a branch, just not the one she wanted to reach for.

Esther's anxieties are the same as almost any post-grad, what do you do with your life when you are done with college. Only Esther's come before she even graduates. She knows one thing, she wants to write. The problem? She has not experienced anything to write about. What value is your life, when your mind can't cooperate with your one desire? Esther's mission then begins to be that of understanding, acceptance, and finally, control.


Sylvia Plath 

The entire time I read this book, stereotypical as it is going to come off as, I felt her. I associated with her. I eat my food in a bizarre yet manner-of-fact way, I assume that if I look like I know what I am doing it is perfectly fine to eat that way. When I am faced with something new that I am shocked over, beyond words, I typically just nod and act like I have been exposed to it before. I am blunt. Oh and I am an English major. One that wants to be a writer and not a teacher. But there is this one issue...I have not experienced anything yet. I however do not feel that I need to experience placing my head inside an oven a la the ingenious, yet tragic Sylvia Plath so fear not. 

Oh and before I forget, the lovely Amanda from The Upside of Wonder featured me on one of her "looks I love" posts, go check out all the other awesome girls who were featured! Thanks Amanda!!

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30 Musings

  1. looks like a good read :D happy PI'DAY! ^^

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  2. Ok so I've been putting off reading this forever. Tonight when I get my Kindle this is going on the list. Thanks for the tip/reminder.
    Loved your review and association with it. Seeing it from your point of view makes me want to read it more.

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  3. i read this in high school, but i absorbed none of it. i think i should give it another chance.

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  4. I love The Bell Jar and Sylvia Plath. I was obsessed with TBJ and Ariel, Plath's book of poetry, in high school. I wanted to attend Smith College because Sylvia Plath did. Great post. Isn't it amazing that a book that was written decades ago resonates today? The written word is extremely powerful.

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  5. Oh, this book was always monumental to me. Thanks for posting this.

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  6. I need to read this... thanks for introducing me!

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  7. Always great to read about this author and her work.

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  8. Cool post. Love that you got your outfit posted on that other blog too.

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  9. this book is really good. so glad that you wrote about it. it's so difficult to find inspiration some times. if you have so much writing in you then you have to go out and experience things--try something new; visit a different place; but stay away from ovens. :)

    and congrats on the feature!

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  10. sounds like a good book! :)

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  11. I read 'The Bell Jar' years ago but it resonated with me too. However ending it all the way she did still shocks me

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  12. Haven't read it / Guess I should / I'm so glad / You live in my hood.

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  13. This book, this author as a whole, is incredible. Sylvia Plath is one of my favorites.
    This reminds me of when I was in high school, we had to do a presentation of sorts which our teacher called "poetry cafe" on any poet of our choice, extra credit if we attempted to dress like them. One of the greatest experiences of my life. I chose Plath. I dressed up and made one of my first ventures into a thrift store to find an outfit to fit the image. I even pinned my hair into a bob like hers. I went a bit above expectations and did the presentation in first person, trying to imitate her speech from readings I had listened to by her, I told it as if it was my life, because through her writing, I felt like I had achieved this connection with her to do this.
    kk. Sorry for that. Sylvia Plath and her work is just one of the things that truly inspired me to start writing. I had no intention of writing all this to spam your comments, but here it is. haha I hope you're having a lovely day, Sara. ♥

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  14. i love everythign she worte... it was so powerful!!!

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  15. Cool post!

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  16. The Bell Jar is actually one of my favorite books...

    the part that has always gotten me is when she describes trying to strangle herself, but her arms become weak. I just remember the way she wrote it sounded so sad, it just got to me. and just the symbol of a bell jar, feeling suffocated; great book, I haven't read it in a while though...!

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  17. interesting post! Now i'll go to watch your feature!

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  18. Yayay! I absolutely adore you for posting this review, Sara! The Bell Jar will forever be one of my favorite books - now I may need to give it a re-read! :)

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  19. call me crazy, but i have never in my life read any of her work. and i call myself an english major /: i've gotta try it! you inspired me (:

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  20. Every girl she read her at some point in their life.

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  21. She is inspiring. If you get a chance read Patricia Highsmith's short stories. She wrote the novel THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY. This past year I read a biography that was out about her. It really lets you see how hard it was for women in the 50's in writing. She did a fairly amount of writing in comic books to get her start. She also had many affairs with women and would use the drama for her own fiction. Many of her lovers were quite suicidal by the time she was finished with them. But her anthology of work should really be in college literary reading. Its interesting to see how her writing changed over the decades too.

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  22. Hi Sara! I actually did a presentation about Sylvia Plath in my oral communication class and recited one of my favorite poems of hers "Mirror". It always makes me feel filled with both terror and dread but at the same time, I feel like I get wiser every time I read her words. xoxoxoo

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  23. I LOVE YOU!...

    Okay, not to introduce myself as a girl in love... But you remind me of myself.

    The Bell Jar is a beautiful novel, and Sylvia Plath exemplifies sorrow and madness in the creation of art.*

    Your blog is wonderful.
    Lets be friends? I'm Amy ^.^


    love amy ^.^
    www.amyflyingakite.com

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  24. Goodness me, you have made me want to read the Bell Jar as soon as possible! I just read Sylvia Plath's Ariel and really enjoyed it, so I was thinking about reading the Bell Jar as well. It seems like a relatable book for the same reasons you were saying - I'm an english major as well, and feel like teaching is my only option. I enjoy writing poetry, but I don't know if I'm great at it or if it's just a hobby. Anyway, thanks for the great suggestion :)

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  25. I really should read this.
    Cute blog x

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  26. i never heard of this book! it sounds interesting

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  28. sounds very interesting. I always see this book around but never knew what it was about, so thanks for educating me.

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  29. Sylvia Plath never fails. She's my heroine.

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Talk nerdy to me.