The Bell Jar The Bell Jar discussion

The Catcher in the Rye vs. The Bell Jar vs. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Catcher for me. I love The Bell Jar, and Esther, too, but I love Holden the most of the three.
Perks, and Charlie, just annoyed me.

message 2: by Rob (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob macabre ranking of suicidal motif...nonetheless, I get your drift...and love Holden's voice best of all too.

Vladyii The Bell jar definitely.

Emma I haven't read perks of being a wallflower, but I would definitely say that Catcher in the Rye felt far more exciting to read than The Bell Jar, Holden made me laugh, and gave me moments to think about my own life. The demise of Esther reflected Plath too which made it hard to read, whilst being very droll overall.

Melanie While reading this I kept thinking of Kate Chopin's The Awakening.

Ariel I'd say The Bell Jar, then Catcher, then Wallflower.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a good book but its more in the YA lit pool than actual literature imo. And it totally ripped off Catcher in the Rye. No question.

Bess Oates I haven't read perks of being a wallflower (I've seen the film and loved it so I'm planning to read it), and I'm half way through Catcher so I'm not sure how much relevance my opinion has but I would choose the Bell Jar.. to be honest Holden seems like a whiny brat and I don't find myself empathizing with him that much, whereas I felt I could relate to Esther

message 8: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy These books are all so different it's hard to compare the three.
In terms of narrative style:
1. The Bell Jar
2. The Catcher in the Rye
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
2. The Bell Jar
3. The Catcher in the Rye

Overall writing:
1. The Bell Jar
2. The Catcher in the Rye
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Marianinna I've read the 3 books so I can give my opinion...
The catcher in the rye all the way!! love Holden (the best character ever! he was as complex as real people are, I mean he was sad at times and he made me laugh too)
I liked the bell jar but I didn't loved it...
And the perks... was good but Charlie was so annoying(he cries all the time and I dont like that in characters)

Myoho2000 The Catcher in the Rye seems to me the best of the three in the long run.

Rachel I actually really enjoyed the perks of being a wallflower most. Maybe the language was just easier to comprehend but I felt a connection to Charlie that I dint feel to Esther or Holden.

I will say, however, that there is much more to be discovered in a second, or third, or tenth reading of the Bell Jar or The Catcher in the Rye whereas The perks of being a Wallflower wheres its heart on it's sleeve, so to speak, but there is not much more to dig into.

message 12: by Ellison (last edited Oct 27, 2014 03:14AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ellison I recently read The Bell Jar, and I must say it's more memorable than the other two. Then again, I recently read it, and I haven't read The Perks of Being a Wallflower because I saw the movie and I still can't remember what it's about.

The Bell Jar fascinated me because here you have a woman whose only real mental disorder is her sexual inexperience. Of course, this is blown out of proportion by a pop-culture devoid of understanding, so in lieu of counseling she's electrocuted. Excellent! It's a powerful testament to man's ignorance, and the fact that Sylvia Plath never wanted this book published only adds to it's already raw overtones of melancholy.

This is a book you're not invited to read, and it doesn't use any gimmicks to capture the reader's interest. It's a book you must desire, nay long, to read or you just won't get it.

Kressel Housman As long as you're making that comparison, I'd throw in J.D. Salinger's other book about a young person having a mental breakdown: Franny and Zooey . I related to it much more than The Catcher in the Rye.

Yehuda catcher for me, i could relate to that more than to the bell jar considering the fact that i never went insane (yet)

Yehuda Melanie wrote: "While reading this I kept thinking of Kate Chopin's The Awakening."

yeah me too

message 16: by Rob (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob Luke wrote: "Melanie wrote: "While reading this I kept thinking of Kate Chopin's The Awakening."

yeah me too"


message 17: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex I didn't like the The Perks of Being a Wallflower so much, so this is my rank:
1. Bell jar
2. The catcher in the rye
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I think that 1 and 2 are very similar, just that Holden can understand the world he lives in and can accept it and move on, he didn't get so close to suicide or madness
Anyway, the bell jar is more profound and the character's feelings are described better, It's like you are one with her, you go crazy, are angry with world and feel abandoned and alone like her...

message 18: by Marwa (last edited Dec 23, 2014 11:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marwa The Bell Jar. No doubt. It's an even more intriguing text if you look into Sylvia Plaths' life. I found it a lot more enjoyable once I could see the autobiographical links.

Caitlyn Dechen wrote: "The beauty of The Bell Jar is that the reader finds it so gloomy and feels gloomy gradually. But that right there is Syliva Plath and her prowess with words. She's not just telling a story, she mak..."

Charlie represents hope and simplicity but how those feelings and the beauty of the world is struck down by the darkness of it all. Much like Holden Caufield. The idea of seeing life through the grey area and getting right down the black and white He has this idea of what he wants to be, but the trauma of past experiences bubble to the surface. He's relateable especially to a younger generation.

I'd still pick Holden if i had to choose between the three, but I love perks of being a wallflower.

Haley I just finished The Bell Jar and ive read Perks of being a wallflower multiple times but i think the Bell Jar wins for me.
Maybe its just the way i conmected so much with Esther, i dont know, but Charlie and Holden didnt do it enough for me.
Even Plaths writing in general trumped the others for me too. It just seemed to subtly pull me in and hold me there without me noticing.

Carina I'm really glad I came across this discussion. I'm an English teacher and I've been thinking of teaching these 3 books in a coming of age unit. This would be for a junior level course, grade 11. What do you think of that idea? Would you be into it as 16-17 year olds?

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