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Thread: The Bell Jar

  1. #1
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    Sep 2005

    The Bell Jar

    I was just wondering about your opinions on this book, as I am studying it in Literature. It's by Sylvia Plath.
    Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace to-night:
    Thrice hath Calpurnia in her sleep cried out,
    'Help, ho! they murder Caesar!' Who's within?

  2. #2
    Registered User Amra's Avatar
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    Nov 2004



    What is your opinon on it? Is there a specific issue you would like to discuss?

  3. #3
    Registered User Scatterbrain's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    I think "The Bell Jar" might be my favourite book ever
    I'm not sure, I have a hard time deciding, but it's in the top, for sure

    I read it about a year ago
    Needless to say it had a huge effect on me
    The way it's so personal, emotional, I just love the way it was written

    I'm a huge Plath fan

    Yes, anything specific you wanna discuss about it?

  4. #4
    In libris libertas Aurora Ariel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Between the acts...
    The Bell Jar is actually one which I added to the recommend best read list.
    I love Plath's poetry and her semi-autobiographical(and only) book The Bell Jar.I first read this in one sitting about a year ago as I couldn't put it down.
    It's a fine novel and darkly witty and disturbing.But I would surely recommend it, especially if one has read alot of Plath's poetry before.

    In it Esther Greenwood reveals her account of a year spent in the "bell jar" and well you should go and read the book as I don't want to give the narrative away!

    I especially like these pages.

    From The Bell Jar-pages 52 & 53:

    I thought it was a lovely story, especially the part about the fig-tree
    in winter under the snow and then the fig-tree in spring with all the
    green fruit.I felt sorry when I came to the last page.I wanted to crawl
    through a fence, and go back to sleep under that big beautiful green
    fig-tree.It seemed to me Buddy Willard and I were like that Jewish man
    and that nun, although of course we weren't Jewish or Catholic but
    Unitarian.We had met together under our owm imaginary fig-tree, and
    what we had seen wasn't a bird coming out of an egg but a baby coming
    out of a women, and something awful happened and we went our separate
    ways.As I lay ther in my white hotel bed feeling lonely and weak, I thought
    of Buddy Willard lying even lonelier and weaker than I was up in that sanatorium in the
    Adirondacks, and I felt like a heel of the worst sort.
    In his letters Buddy kept telling me how he was reading poems by a poet
    who was also a doctor and how he'd found out about some famous dead
    Russian short story writer who had been a doctor too, so maby doctors
    and writers could get along fine after all.
    Now this was a very different tune from what Buddy Willard had been
    singing all the two years we were getting to know each other.I remembered
    the day he smiled at me and said,
    'Do you know what a poem is Esther?'
    'No, what?' I said.
    'A piece of dust.' And he looked so proud of having thought of this that I
    just stared at his blond hair and his blue eyes and his white teeth-he had
    very long, strong white teeth-and said 'I guess so.'
    It was only in the middle of New York a whole year later that I finally
    thought of an answer to that remark.I spent a lot of time having
    imaginary conversations with Buddy Willard.He was a couple of years
    older than I was and very scientific, so he could always prove things.
    When I was with him I had to work to keep my head above water.
    These conversations I had in my mind usually repeated the beginnings
    of coversations I'd really had with Buddy, only they finished with me
    answering him back sharply, instead of saying 'I guess so'.
    Now, lying on my back in bed, I imagined Buddy saying,
    'Do you know what a poem is, Esther?'
    'No, what?' I would say.
    'A piece of dust.'
    Then just as he was smiling and starting to look proud, I would
    say, 'So are the cadavers you cut up.So are the people you think
    you're curing.They're dust as dust as dust.
    I reckon a good poem lasts a whole lot longer than a hundred of
    those people put together.

    *Also check pages 73(I love the branching fig tree description)
    and pages 140-141 onwards.
    My own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery --always buzzing, humming, soaring, roaring, diving, and then buried in mud. And why? What's this passion for?
    -Virginia Woolf

    “I want to write a novel about Silence,” he said; “the things people don’t say. But the difficulty is immense.” He sighed. - Night and Day

  5. #5


    I feel this book has touched me. Plath's narrative bleeds into my broken doppelgänger; I felt a strong connection with Esther and her fragile mind. 'The Bell Jar' has inspired me to write my own novel, called 'The Tin Helmet'. Ummm, ahh, hold on, hold on - my strong connection with Esther, has provoked me not only to write a novel, but to attempt my own suicide. It showed me the many ways I could do it. I feel a strong spiritual affiliation with Esther.

    I like 'The Bell Jar'. But it was such a cliffhanger at the end! Did she get better or suffer deeper depression? Personally I think that she died. However, I also think that she lived ... on in my soul. I often talk to her when I am alone. I believe that 'The Bell Jar' is a mirror of the life of Christ; as He struggles to deal with social issues.

    Hi - I'm new to the forum!

    Your posts have inspired me to reply. Well done for such a nice posts. Be Encouraged to Exercise and Excorcise your own creative musings ... urges ... emotions ... in poetry ... I myself am quite partial to the sonnet form! I think you should interpret Plath's message in your own way and follow your dreams!!! It is people like you all that make literature worth reviewing. I share the same passion for novels concerning minds under stress. I would like to you all to read 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'. It really touched me.

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