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Rory Book Discussions > The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

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message 1: by Dini, the master of meaning (new)

Dini | 691 comments Mod
Please discuss Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar here.


message 2: by Meabh (new)

Meabh (maisy) | 4 comments Anybody reading the Bell Jar, just finished it and would love to know what other people think!


message 3: by M (new)

M | 12 comments I read the Bell Jar awhile ago and I loved it. Of course also being a chronically depressed female English major vastly helps.


message 4: by Clare (new)

Clare (clarepenelopeliggins) | 0 comments I read the Bell Jar a while ago and loved it also. One of my favourite opening lines of a book too.


Gitte - Bookworm's Closet (gittetofte) | 77 comments I've read this one 3 times and obviously love it! It's been a few years, so I've forgotten many details.

What did you think of her x-boyfrind? (I forget his name... Buddy??? Michael???)


message 6: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 6 comments I am about a third of the way through and am enjoying it. I've never read Sylvia Plath before, thought it would be too wordy or something I guess. But glad I decided to give it a read. I related to the part of the fig tree. Looking up at the tree and seeing all the figs/possible choices and then not knowing and seeing the missed opportunities as dried up figs falling to the ground.


Literary Multitudes (literary_multitudes) I'm reading, too. But I'm not very far into it yet. I need some quite hours to focus on it. :)


message 8: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca | 74 comments I am finished. Wanting to read it forever made me glad that the group chose it.

Jackie, I think I thought the same thing about reading Plath. The ease with which I fell into it surprised me. For some reason I was expecting it to be wordy as you said.


message 9: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker This is definitely one of my favorite books and is one that I reread over and over, about once a year. I really love her voice in this book. It's so realistic and relate-able. I find myself vacillating between laughter and tears as I read it because Plath does a really good job of showing the light-hearted moments of depression along with the sad and scary. Usually after I finish reading this book, I pick up her journals to read for a while.


message 10: by A.U.C. (new)

A.U.C. (AntoniaFUC) | 12 comments One of the worse books I've ever read, by far!


message 11: by A.U.C. (new)

A.U.C. (AntoniaFUC) | 12 comments I guess I should explain why...

depressing, uneventful, no message, no morale. I coouldn't see whyyyy this book would be called a classic.


message 12: by Laura (new)

Laura Miramontes I was really surprised (and somewhat horrified) by how much I related to the Esther's character. I appreciated her sense of humor. Her thoughts about balancing work and family, and the need to live up to others' expectations, still resonate today. I guess the main difference is that most of the time, I realize when my thoughts are irrational and can get myself back on track. Also, her attitude toward Buddy was completely unreasonable!


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

i read this book a while ago and since i have school nowadays it makes me happy that we have decided on reading this book because i don't have time to read but really wanted to add to the conversation.
this book was an amazing book. as i was reading it, i kept thinking this is such a dark book but when i ended the book i automatically categorized it as one of those eye openers. it is really about the sad/worse side of human nature and i thought that it was nice to read about a not so typical story for a change.

i enjoyed her retelling of how dark it is when you attempt to find yourself.


message 14: by Rebecca, the princess of prose (last edited Mar 27, 2011 11:05PM) (new)

Rebecca Curtis | 70 comments Mod
I love this book, yes it is dark and slightly depressing but it is real. I think that everyone at some point in their life has regrets or experiences confusion and doubt, maybe it is not like Esther and maybe it doesn't spiral into suicidal thoughts and actions but it will lead us into confusion and can lead deeper into depression.

I love that Plath having gone through a similar situation in her own life uses her character to approach how they viewed mental illness and depression at that time, she does this through the way the outside characters react to what Esther is going through. some are judgmental, some are rude and critical and even some of the doctors that she is taken too seem to project a lack of tact and understanding.

I feel like someone just needed to let her talk and express her feelings and to maybe just be there for her.

Plath is one of my all time favorites.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I read this a whie ago when I was going through my depressed college student phase. I understand why it's a classic and I can see how people can relate to it well after it's time.

When I read The Bell Jar, I got a lot out of it at the time. Now, however, it just doesn't appeal to me.

I do think that the writing is amazing though and do recommend people to read it. It's definitely going to stay a classic for a reason.


Literary Multitudes (literary_multitudes) I finally found some time to read on and am now really into the book (well, I'm not even in the middle, but I now feel like really reading it), and I love it. It is different from what I expected and it is incredibly readable, brilliantly written and I can't wait to read on (not now, alas!, work awaits - the life of a college student...).


message 17: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 10 comments It seems like we may see a movie adaptation of The Bell Jar sometime in the near future. It's rumoured to be starring Julia Stile as Esther. Does anyone have any thoughts on the subject?
Personally, I like Julia Stiles, but I can't imagine her as our heroine. Also, book to movie adaptations have a spotty history at their best.
I guess I'm still excited to see what they come up though, which is all that matters.


Literary Multitudes (literary_multitudes) Actually while reading I was thinking that it felt like I already had seen a movie, but I guess that were only pictures from "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle" in the back of my head.
Anyway I think this could be a wonderful movie - if done thoughtfully. The book has so much atmosphere and the voice of Esther is so strong, it wouldn't be easy.
I also really like Julia Stiles, but I don't know if she's the right one. At first thought I was picturing Carey Mulligan.
(Or again, a very young Jennifer Jason Leigh would be perfect... ;-) )


message 19: by Estelle (new)

Estelle | 15 comments I heard about the movie adaptation too! I'm actually looking forward to it because I think Julia Stiles will be able to provide a fresh perspective on the story... Books and movies are never going to be equivalent, but I think of them as two different interpretations of one story...
I was just wondering if anyone knows of any music that'd be suitable for The Bell Jar? My friend is thinking of making a book trailer for it...


message 20: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Christmas (librarygirl12) | 5 comments Finished this book last week. Blew my mind. I started to feel like I was going insane while reading it.


Literary Multitudes (literary_multitudes) It's true, this strange book kind of sucks you into it and I at least felt kind of surprised, when I was "released" at the end. It was really a great book.


message 22: by Robyn (new)

Robyn II finished this book some time ago, but am just now finding time to post. Like someone else in the discussion said, I had been leery of reading Plath fearing it would be too wordy. However, I was sucked in from the beginning. I could relate to Esther's experiences very closely having gone through a difficult time in college myself. I am glad this book was chosen. It was worth reading.


message 23: by Amber (new)

Amber I read this book probably once a year. I'm debating between this one and James Baldwin's Go Tell It On the Mountain for my thesis. Has anyone read Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams? Loved it!


message 24: by Amber (last edited May 19, 2011 02:47PM) (new)

Amber Estelle wrote: "I heard about the movie adaptation too! I'm actually looking forward to it because I think Julia Stiles will be able to provide a fresh perspective on the story... Books and movies are never going ..."

I can't wait for Stiles' adaptation. Have you seen "Sylvia" with Paltrow and Daniel Craig?


message 25: by Estelle (new)

Estelle | 15 comments Amber wrote: "Estelle wrote: "I heard about the movie adaptation too! I'm actually looking forward to it because I think Julia Stiles will be able to provide a fresh perspective on the story... Books and movies ..."

I want to watch that very much! But unfortunately I don't live in the U.S. so I didn't know of its release and am unable to get any DVDs from where I live now :(
I'm hoping Stiles' adaptation will be released internationally!
Did you watch "Sylvia"? Mind sharing your thoughts? (^^)


message 26: by Amber (new)

Amber "Sylvia" came out years ago. So it should be available on Amazon maybe? It was...okay. It focused on Sylvia's marriage with Ted. Nothing really new that fans of Plath don't already know. I wanted more about her life before Ted and focus more on the writing than the relationship. But that's just me.


message 27: by Estelle (new)

Estelle | 15 comments Amber wrote: ""Sylvia" came out years ago. So it should be available on Amazon maybe? It was...okay. It focused on Sylvia's marriage with Ted. Nothing really new that fans of Plath don't already know. I wanted m..."

I guess a lot of movie adaptations tend to focus on the relationships... I'd want to know more about her writing too, especially the way she writes about writing (love her unabridged journals).. I've only been able to see "The Hours" which is about Virginia Woolf, inspired by "Mrs Dalloway". I thought it was pretty good.. Am hoping Stiles' adaptation will be even better!


message 28: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 2 comments Just finished reading it and thought it was amazing. It sucked me in right from the start and I was a little scared how much I related to Esther! The analogy of the fig tree and having all those different lives to choose from and not being able to pick is exactly what I feel sometimes. I was suprised by the ending, though. It seemed rushed compared to the rest of the book, but maybe that was how it was supposed to be? I still enjoyed it nonetheless.


message 29: by Astrid (new)

Astrid Garcia | 7 comments I just finished this book and I was immediately transported to every moment that Esther was in. At times I even wondered whether or not she was actually sick. It just seemed to me that her needs didn't necessarily fit the mold that was set for women at the time.


message 30: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina (sabicore) | 1 comments This book gave me a strange feeling on the inside. It was one of those books that I read the last page, closed the book, and then thought about what I had just read. Sylvia Plath's poetry was always intriguing to me and I was truly excited when my senior year AP Lit teacher told me that she had a book, so I had to get a copy immediately:) Overall a very thought-provoking and engrossing book.


message 31: by Eva (new)

Eva | 5 comments Hannah, I felt the exact same way when I read it - like I was going insane! I read this just under a month ago and I'm not sure if it was just this book, or a combination of reading gone girl and then this directly after but once I was through I felt just horrible and like I was depressed myself. I was really low for a few days and brought myself out of it by reading something light (which was actually a really good book called lost in planet China by J. Maarten Troost if anyone's interested). I thought I just hated the book and the others similar to it that I've read from the Gilmore challenge about teen/young depression. However I just read a review about what I think is the next book we are to read... Kitchen boy? where this person said something like she wasn't sure she liked it, but she does like a book that can make her feel.

I can definitely say the bell jar did that for me, and with everyone here saying they loved it and read it over and over, I kind of want to give it another shot?

..maybe after a few more books from lighter perspective though.


message 32: by Hemma_J (new)

Hemma_J This truly feels like Plath's autobiography right before her suicide. I don't know about you, but I can barely detect the book's famous feminist streak. This young woman isn't breaking because of society, she's mentally disturbed, blaming everyone but herself.
I'm halfway through and struggling to go on since I don't really enjoy it, even if the writing is quite good. It's one of these books were I just can't comprehend how it ever became a classic.


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