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Fred Jones Tools for Teaching 3rd Edition

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Plath was an excellent poet but is known to many for this largely autobiographical novel. The Bell Jar tells the story of a gifted young woman's mental breakdown beginning during a summer internship...

Customer Reviews

11 ratings

Perfect book for the modern youth

I loved this book so much that I read it twice to fully appreciate the richness associated with it. It tells the story of Ester Greenwood who is plagued by what we would now call “imposter syndrome” after she is given the opportunity to intern at a women’s magazine in NYC. She slowly begins to go down the rabbit hole and the book tells you the whole story of where she started and how she got to where she did. At the end of the day, the bell jar is constantly looming over Ester, waiting to drop, which is an accurate depiction of what depression looks like.

A Great Quick Read

It's a wonderfully written yet melancholy story. Unfortunately hits a little close to home so I am strung along quite intimately with her self doubt, indecisiveness, sadness, bleak future etc. This book is a good look into the mind and life of, quite possiblly, millions of individuals suffering from the same instabilities.

It gets real very quickly.

My one recommendation when reading The Bell Jar: be in a very healthy and very positive state of mind. This is an emotionally heavy novel. Plath describes the downward emotional spiral with such realism and accuracy that it takes you with her. The progression of events and emotions are so easily followed, so frighteningly logical, it astounded me.

An important book

"The Bell Jar" tells an important narrative involving not only women's rights, but the rights of the mentally ill as well. A must-read classic.

Love it.

Abstract and brilliant.

I am, I am, I am... in love with this book

The Bell Jar is not an autobiography, but much of Esther Greenwood's struggles throughout the novel are very parallel that of Sylvia Plath, and intentionally so. It's a beautiful novel, a testament to Plath's skills as a writer, but also her ability to portray so rationally the mental struggles of her character and also of herself in some ways. I would absolutely consider The Bell Jar to be one of my favorite books and I absolutely recommend reading some of Plath's poetry after reading this book if you haven't already, in order to even better appreciate her gorgeous prose. I definitely recommend this book and personally plan on reading it many times again.

A beautiful and fragile book

Like millions of other young women, I'm sure, I came across "The Bell Jar" in college, and I felt an immediate attachment to the book: it uplifted me, angered me, scared me, and made me feel deeply protective, all at the same time. "The Bell Jar" tells the story of Esther Greenwood, an intelligent college student, as she slowly feels the "bell jar" of detachment and madness overtake her. As Esther goes from a prestigious internship in New York City to a summer at home with her mother in the Boston suburbs, her attachment to reality becomes more and more tenuous, until thoughts of suicide overtake her. It is no secret that the story has at least a partial basis in reality, and that Sylvia Plath is writing from her own experience is perhaps what makes Esther so deeply real. I recently wrote a review of "Bridget Jones' Diary," and although "The Bell Jar" is undoubtedly a better book, there is a certain similarity between the protagonists: like Bridget, Esther is a character who is almost universally relatable. It does not matter if the reader is psychologically healthy or not: Esther awakens what she is feeling in all of us. My emotional response to "The Bell Jar" was on par with my emotional response to certain real-life events. I was uplifted to find a shared experience; angered at Esther's responses--and at the fact that they seemed reasonable to me; scared at the uncertainty I felt about myself and my own psychological state by the end of the book; and deeply protective--of Esther, of Sylvia Plath, and of every other reader who shared my experience. I recognize that specifically speaking of the female experience when reading "The Bell Jar" could be considered rather narrow-minded of me. I certainly believe that this book can resonate with men as well, just as "The Catcher in the Rye" can resonate with women. There is something deeply female in Esther's experience, however, and I cannot put into words the extent of my appreciation that Plath was able to give a true voice to this femaleness, without getting defensive and without getting melodramatic.

A GREAT Classic!

I've been trying to broaden my reading range by throwing in a few classics here and there. One I had been interested in for quite some time is The Bell Jar. And with the Sylvia Plath movie coming out soon, I thought reading this book might be a nice complement to that. And what a real pleasure it turned out to be!The Bell Jar does not read like a classic - "classic" being the term of very old books with very old language - the description I've always had for the classic genre. This book has a very contemporary writing style, and despite it being written in the 1960s, The Bell Jar's topic of mental illness certainly transcends the generations and can be related by many people no matter when they read the book. I absolutely loved it!The Bell Jar tells the story of a young Esther Greenwood at the beginning of her mental decline. She first recognizes its oncoming during a summer of interning at a magazine company in New York City. Trying to fit in with the other interns, as well as dealing with boys and co-workers prove to be a struggle at times for Esther. And later, when the real depression and suicidal thoughts set in, readers are invited into a dark and scary world, one created realistically and with honesty by Ms. Plath.This book ranks high on my list of all-time favorites. I'm so glad I read it. From now on, if people want to read a classic (or a darn good book for that matter), I won't hesitate to suggest The Bell Jar. It's fantastic!

A true classic

I personally find Sylvia Plath's journals her most interesting work, but this comes in at a close second. This book will challenge just about anyone who reads it, whether you're depressed or not. If you've never been depressed in the way Esther is, you're going to ask yourself why she torments herself for no reason and perhaps feel that the storyline is implausible. the deeper you go into the book, the less sympathy you'll feel for her. If you HAVE been as depressed as Esther gets, you'll feel challenged for another reason: the book will reach TOO far into your mind and make TOO deep a connection with you because, well, Sylvia Plath describes depression very well. Her writing tends to make you feel like you and no one else are experiencing what she's going through with her, and it's pretty disturbing. However, it's also a quite rewarding experience. A "bell jar" is just a very apt term for a distorted view of the world that presents everything as seemingly inherently bad. Esther lives under one all the time, and she's not truly aware of it. Eventually her life is turned into a constant waking nightmare because she can't even say what's wrong with her. It's painful to read but it makes for some damn good reading. Reading this book will give you a very graphic idea of what it's like to live under a bell jar and what happens to people who live in permanent ones. You probably won't be the same after you read it.

The Bell Jar

I read this book immediately following "Girl, Interrupted" by Susanna Kaysen. This was an interesting coincidence because both these novels are (nearly) autobiolgraphical accounts of mental traumas these women suffered in their early 20's. In fact, both women had resided in the same mental hospital during their recuperation. I finished "Girl, Interrupted" a bit confused on how I had ever rationalized spending my time reading such a book in the first place. The author's over-personification of the trite theme of "crazy may be sane" wasn't even accompanied by a plot. Sadly enough, the most interesting part of the novel was the excerpt taken from a psychology textbook describing Kaysen's diagnosis. Then, I picked up "The Bell Jar," not knowing what it was about, and read it. It was everything "Girl, Interrupted" had tried to be and wasn't. The main character's experiences were real and meaningful, and the book itself tried less to shock its readers by trying to include monumental meaning, but instead, simply told its tale in a beautiful and harrowing way that perfectly reverberated the all-too-familiar struggles of a young woman emerging into an unfamiliar world that in its simpleness, conveyed more than even Kaysen could ever fathom being bestowed upon a reader.

Harrowing and hilarious

The fact that I have read this book at least 50 times probably makes me the most unobjective reviewer possible. Still, having read many other reviews of The Bell Jar, I am struck by the fact that most readers respond mainly to the harrowing portrayal of Esther's descent into madness rather than the wry, biting humor with which Plath describes it. Certainly, as a 19 year old college student myself, reading the novel as an easy way out of an assignment to get to know a modern American poet, I was most taken in by Plath's cynicism. Still, although cynical and satirical, this book approaches greatness because it hacks through the false outer shell of the world and divulges the ugly truth that everything means nothing...or nothing means anything, which is a great tragedy for a young, brilliant woman like Esther who has so much to look forward to. Unfortunately, she discovers that all of her hard work and success aren't going to pay off in any meaningful way. She may walk out of her psychiatrist's office in full control (at the end of the book) but one senses that the lesson she's learned, that something's wrong with everyone, will die hard. The ability to do all this with a sense of humor is amazing, not to mention that her use of simile is, perhaps, the best ever.
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