Going into The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath I have only one thing on my mind: just what is a bell jar exactly?
Is it a jar in which one would keep bells?
Is it a bell in which one would keep jars?
Is it a jar in the shape of a bell?
Is it a bell in the shape of a jar?
Is it some monstrous combination of Tinkerbell and Jar Jar Binks?
Is it all of these things and more?
These are the things that I hope are addressed somewhere along the line.
EDIT: Well, I've now read The Bell Jar front to back and I can safely say, with some regret, that a bell jar is certainly not a combination of Tinkerbell and Jar Jar Binks. Though there is always a chance that I am completely missing some sort of metaphorical allegorical symbolism. So, it can be possible, that a reader with a keener eye may be able to spot the potential connections which our dear Sylvia makes to the world's of Peter Pan and Star Wars.
As for the work itself I can say, without much hesitation, that it was a fine one. A bit dull at first, it definitely picked up in the latter half. Though the pacing felt a bit odd to me. One chapter we have a very average girl (a bit neurotic, hypocritical, and confused, but an insane girl by no means) and then suddenly, in the very next chapter, we have a girl in an asylum trying to kill herself and burying perfectly good hotdogs in the sand when nobody's watching. I suppose a nervous breakdown can be very sudden and happen to just about anyone, and if anyone knows insanity it is certainly Sylvia Plath, so I'm not one to argue but it did feel a little odd to me.
That being said I felt the character psychology was done well and highly interesting to observe. Especially for the main character (whom isn't exactly likable or highly relatable but does manage to be somewhat interesting to spectate) but for the supporting cast just as well. There is undoubtedly much truth in the reputation of The Bell Jar being a "Catcher in the Rye for girls" but to consider it only that and nothing more would be a great injustice; it would be better called a "Catcher in the Rye for crazy girls." But of course I kid. The book earns its title of an individual work and is clearly very personal and autobiographical for its author. Plath sure does know how to convey insanity.
Plath is an interesting writer, both in life and work. Her style was a bit surprising to me. She's well known for her poetry and though I haven't read any as of yet I sort of expected a more poetic and detailed type of writing. And don't get me wrong, Plath manages to write very beautiful sentences and weave together powerful emotions, but she does it all in a very straight forward way, something that is surely a challenge to accomplish mind you, it's just not something I quite expected from a poet and it only makes me all the more interested to see what her poetry is like.
An enjoyable read and a solid novel. The first half is a little rough, and the end wasn't too satisfactory for me, but the book certainly has its moments.