Book Review: The Bell Jar
Note from Mrs. Moss: The Free Lancer welcomes submissions by ALL STUDENTS, grades 7-12. Special thank you to Alanna Schill for the following submission. If you want to see your work featured–any type!–please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Alanna Schill, Class of 2022
Original photography courtesy of the author
“The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence”
The Bell Jar is “the story of a poet who tries to end her life written by a poet who did.” The Bell Jar had a strong impact on me, not just after finishing it or throughout my reading but chapter by chapter. After taking time to thoroughly comprehend what I had read I can say fully that this book disturbed me, touched me, and overwhelmed me. The book mixes Plath’s semi-autobiography and a fiction tale by following the life story of Esther Greenwood, as she experiences the flaws in an unaccepting society, the challenges of mental illness, and those challenges lead her to death by suicide. The Bell Jar is a metaphor for Plath’s own depression that distorts how she saw the world around her and how she wrote about the lives of her characters.
Esther Greenwood is a brilliant young woman, who seems to be ready to take on the world as a poet. Esther has ambitious dreams and on the way to accomplishing her dreams, she has earned awards, prizes, scholarships, and years of perfect grades. After winning an internship in New York with a fashion magazine, Esther finds herself spiraling into depression when the experience is not what she believed it would be. However, Esther finds herself losing the ambition she once had to accomplish her dreams. Despite accomplishing many things academically they do not fill the hole of emptiness inside of her. Throughout the entire book, Esther battles with society’s view on what a woman should be doing and what she wants to do for herself. Eventually landing herself in a mental hospital Esther must come to terms with what she wants out of her life.
Editors’ Note: If you or a loved one are dealing with the challenges of mental illness, help is always available to you. Reach out to a trusted teacher. You can also receive help 24/7, 365 from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1-800-273-8255