Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar

(4093 words)
  • Robin Peel (University of Plymouth)

The Bell Jar (1963) is a novel written by the twenty-nine year old Sylvia Plath. In it the narrator recalls in the persona of her former nineteen year old American “college girl” self a traumatic summer of disillusionment and attempted suicide. The girl, Esther Greenwood, experiences a psychological breakdown, is institutionalized and tries to take her own life, events which correspond very closely to Plath's own experiences in 1953. In the course of the breakdown not only do the familiar rituals and purposes of life become meaningless, but so does language itself, with the result that Esther Greenwood decides to end her life to save everyone else a lot of trouble and financial expense. All of this is retold with dry humour.</&hellip;

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Citation:
Peel, Robin. "The Bell Jar". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 June 2010
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1475, accessed 18 April 2014.]