Thursday, March 11, 2021

Bell Jar

I read a biography of Plath before reading The Bell Jar. It is difficult to determine where real life ends and fiction begins. It feels the book is a "pure" autobiography. Names of others have been changed to allow her to put out her true feelings without regards to the actual facts. 

Bell Jar is the first person story of Ester Greenwood as you transitions from a happy girl turning into a sad woman. She worked hard in school and was able to get a great scholarship to college. By continuing to work hard in college, she got a highly coveted internship. However, once she got that, she realized this was not the life she wanted to live. However, she had no idea what life she did want to live. She tried dating. Nothing was meaningful. She held out a bit of hope for a childhood friend. Alas, she was dejected when she learned he had lost his virginity to a slutty waitress. She tried suicide. She ended up in a mental hospital. She later decided to lose her virginity in a rather meaningless way. She didn't enjoy it and hemorrhaged, necessitating a trip to the ER.  One of her friends that appeared to be doing better did commit suicide. 

Her life was a cautionary tale. One can appear to follow all the walls to make it through our educational institutions but be ill-prepared for the life afterwards. It is also an indictment of the quality and benefits of our mental health facilities. 

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