Jennie's Reviews > The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
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's review
Oct 12, 2008

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Read in October, 2008

I suppose it's pretty trite to compare the protagonist in The Bell Jar to the protagonist in Catcher in the Rye, but I'll do it anyway!
So, what do our protagonists, Holden Caulfield and Esther Greenwood have in common? They are both young adults (late teens) heading toward mental breakdowns in post WWII America. While Holden's story takes place mainly in Manhattan, Esther's starts there, but moves to a few different settings.
In my advancing age, one of the things that bothered me so much about Holden is that the older I got, the whinier he sounded. I am left with an overall sense of wanting to tell him to grow up. Not so much with the character of Esther, though. Her descent into her breakdown seemed much more genuine (for lack of a better word) probably becasue Plath was writing from her own life experiences. I don't mean to imply that Esther is anything more than a female Holden, but I was only a few pages into the book when the comparison was apparent to me; and although I loved, loved, loved Catcher, The Bell Jar just felt a little more real to me.

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10/07/2008 page 160
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