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The Bell Jar
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September 2020: Psychological > The Bell Jar by Syliva Plath - 3 stars

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ShazM | 382 comments Esther Greenwood wins an internship at a New York magazine in the summer before she is due to go to college but struggles to really enjoy the experience and when the internship ends and she doesn't achieve the college place she wanted Esther drifts into depression and mental illness.

I felt a bit sorry for Esther as she obviously suffered from society's, and her Mother's, expectations for her but she is also a rather annoying character. Not that it's unusual for teenagers to be selfish, I suppose! On the other hand, I admired her for losing her virginity completely on her own terms, albeit with unexpected consequences. If that was one of the events which helped Esther recover herself I wonder what her doctor would have said if she'd known? On reflection, her doctor would probably have said that Esther was only able to achieve that goal because of the treatment she had been given!


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5692 comments This book stayed with me for a long time. I don't member the virginity details, but I do remember that she seemed unlikable. I think some illnesses (and adolescence) can make people self-centered, negative and irritable. Though over time, I think people who have suffered from depression (or other illnesses) tend to be sensitive and empathetic.

The electroshock therapy was frightening. I read that it's still used today in some cases (with the patient's permission I hope.)


ShazM | 382 comments NancyJ wrote: "This book stayed with me for a long time. I don't member the virginity details, but I do remember that she seemed unlikable. I think some illnesses (and adolescence) can make people self-centered, ..."

My mother-in-law was given electroshock therapy a couple of years ago when they weren't sure what she was suffering. I think at the time they thought it was anxiety or depression but she has since been diagnosed with Parkinsons. She didn't want to do it and I think she only agreed to two or three times but it didn't do her any good. My father-in-law described patients coming back into the waiting room afterwards looking like zombies. Horrific.


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5692 comments That's a shame to give it to someone without a clear diagnosis! I thought they would only use it for severe depression.


ShazM | 382 comments NancyJ wrote: "That's a shame to give it to someone without a clear diagnosis! I thought they would only use it for severe depression."

It did seem extreme but they're not the kind of people to question a medical professional.


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5692 comments ShazM wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "That's a shame to give it to someone without a clear diagnosis! I thought they would only use it for severe depression."

It did seem extreme but they're not the kind of people to qu..."


I suppose if you're really miserable, you might be more likely to try it. It reportedly has helped a lot of people, even if it did leave some gaps in their memories.


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