The Bell JarLarge Print - 2003
In the harrowing acclaimed novel by the celebrated poet, Esther Greenwood, a rising editor during the early 1950s, suffers a nervous breakdown, falling deeply into depression and madness. (General Fiction)
The Bell Jar chronicles the breakdown of the brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful Esther Greenwood, a woman slowly going under -- maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther's demise with such intensity that the character's insanity becomes completely real, 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.
Esther Greenwood, a talented and successful writer, finally succumbs to madness when the world around her begins to falter.
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“I don’t see what women see in other women,” I’d told Dr. Nolan in my interview that noon. “What does a woman see in a woman that she can’t see in a man?” Dr. Nolan pauses. Then she said, “Tenderness.” That shut me up.
The floor seemed wonderfully solid. It was comforting to know I had fallen and could fall no further.
I woke to the sound of rain.
"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."
So I began to think maybe it was true that when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed, and afterward you went about as numb as a slave in a totalitarian state.
"There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them."
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Sylvia Plath's shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity.
Esther Greenwood, a college student from Massachusetts, travels to New York to work on a magazine for a month as a guest editor. Esther returns to the Boston suburbs and discovers that she has not been accepted to a writing class she had planned to take. She will spend the summer with her mother instead. Esther awakens to find herself in the hospital. She has survived her suicide attempt with no permanent physical injuries. Once her body heals, she is sent to the psychological ward in the city hospital, where she is uncooperative, paranoid, and determined to end her life.
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