20 March 2016

Bell Jar


Book: Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5

Alice in a Bell jar!

Most books have relevant names but 
there is no other name more perfect than this for Bell Jar. So many interpretations to this title and each one goes deeper and deeper peeling layer after layer - Trapped in a different world, inability to live, to function, to be happy like other normal people. Trapped in sadness, a madness, a hell of a bell jar! A dead space, with a desire to die, and your mind is trapped in a vortex and wants to be released, and only death could free you. 

There are so many interpretations, so many feminist connotations to a mad world inside the head of this crazy crazy girl. The protagonist is the authors own story. The ironical part is that she can explain her madness on the most beautiful way. If that's not poetry then nothing is. Her suicidal tendencies are evident in the book. You feel sad for her but you can't help her, only understand her. 

I can hardly do justice to this book review because only Sylvia can explain the voices in her head in her own words - 

I wondered why I couldn't go the whole way doing what I should any more. This made me sad and tired. Then I wondered why I couldn't go the whole way doing what I shouldn't, the way Doreen did, and this made me even sadder and more tired.

Do you know what a poem is, Esther?"  

"No, what?" I said. 

" A piece of dust."

She wants," said Jay Cee wittily, "to be everything."

At home, all I ever saw was the Christian Science Monitor, which appeared on the doorstep at five o'clock every day but Sunday and treated suicides and sex crimes and airplane crashes as if they didn't happen. 

It must take a lot of courage to die like that.      

My trouble was I hated the sight of blood. 

You know, Esther, you've got the perfect setup of a true neurotic.

You'll never get anywhere like that, you'll never get anywhere like that, you'll never get anywhere like that.

I hadn't slept for twenty-one nights.

I looked down at the two flesh-colored Band-Aids forming a cross on the calf of my right leg. That morning I had made a start. I had locked myself in the bathroom, and run a tub full of warm water, and taken out a Gillette blade.             When they asked some old Roman philosopher or other how he wanted to die, he said he would open his veins in a warm bath. I thought it would be easy, lying in the tub and seeing the redness flower from my wrists, flush after flush through the clear water, till I sank to sleep under a surf gaudy as poppies.

I thought drowning must be the kindest way to die, and burning the worst. Some of those babies in the jars that Buddy Willard showed me had gills, he said. They went through a stage where they were just like fish.

My Aunt Libby's husband had made a joke once, about a nun that a nunnery sent to Teresa for a checkup. This nun kept hearing harp notes in her ears and a voice saying over and over, "Alleluia!" Only she wasn't sure, on being closely questioned, whether the voice was saying Alleluia or Arizona. The nun had been born in Arizona. I think she
ended up in some asylum. 

The more hopeless you were, the further away they hid you.

I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air. 

One of them, a great, tall, gray-haired woman with a booming bass voice, named Mrs. Savage, had gone to Vassar. I could tell right away she was a society woman, because she talked about nothing but debutantes. It seemed she had two or three daughters, and that year they were all going to be debutantes, only she had loused up their debutante party by signing herself into the asylum.

Darkness wiped me out like chalk on a blackboard.

Sometimes I wondered if I had made Joan up. Other times I wondered if she would continue to pop in at every crisis of my life to remind me of what I had been, and what I had been through, and carry on her own separate but similar crisis under my nose.

I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.

What I hate is the thought of being under a man's thumb," I had told Doctor Nolan. "A man doesn't have a worry in the world, while I've got a baby hanging over my head like a big stick, to keep me in line."      

I felt the first man I slept with must be intelligent, so I would respect him. Irwin was a full professor at twenty-six and had the pale, hairless skin of a boy genius. I also needed somebody quite experienced to make up for my lack of it, and Irwin's ladies reassured me on this head. Then, to be on the safe side, I wanted somebody I didn't know and wouldn't go on knowing 

A kind of impersonal, priestlike official, as in the tales of tribal rites. 

To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream.

Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind of snow, should numb and cover them.

I've tried to picture my world and the people in it as seen through the distorting lens of a bell jar.

If Bell jar is made into a movie, it will be relevant in every era and every generation. A lot of people associate it to feminism, for me it's nothing to do with being a female. It's all about the Neuro functioning of a brilliant author and artist who shares complicated story of her mind. She could very well be Alice in wonderland, instead it is Alice in a Bell jar. 

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