NaJuReMoNoMo Winner! The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath


I finished reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. It is bittersweet reading because Plath commited suicide soon after the book was published. The experiences Plath went through at the time she is writing about are very clearly depicted, allowing me to relate and at the same be grateful that I’ve never gone through anything similar. It puts it all into perspective. Part of her recovery was this realization:

“A man to see you!”

The smiling snow-capped nurse poked her head in through the door, and for a confused second I thought I was really back in college and this spruce white furniture, this white view over trees and hills, an improvement on my old room’s nicked chairs and desk and outlook over the bald quad. “A man to see you!” the girl on watch had said, on the dormitory phone.

What was there about us, in Belize [her asylum house], so different from the girls playing bridge and gossiping and studying in college to which I would return? Those girls, too, sat under bell jars of a sort.

The book is out of date, but it was interesting to read partly because of that. Has much changed, other than women being slightly more aware of our sexualities? Fortunately, mental care is a little more sophisticated than what appeared to be the only option, electric shock therapy. Her first psychiatrist was the most scary – the idea of sitting there and letting her talking and expecting her to recover without being given anything to help. No skills, nothing to grasp on. Hopefully, that style of treatment no longer exists.

I am now reading Mark Twain‘s A Tramp Abroad, which is also biographical fiction. Fortunately in a lighter vein than the Bell Jar.