Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I have to admit avoiding reading Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar until many years after my days in high school and college. It seemed to be the province of those "smart" girls, the ones who dressed exclusively in black (before it was cool), smoked clove cigarettes (tobacco makes me nauseous and smoking is a foul, disgusting habit), and talked of attending some highbrow, ultra-expensive, uberprivate college back East . They always seemed to carry their rather tattered copies so that the entire world could see that they were "into" Plath.

I wonder how many of them actually read the book

I now realize that this was mere affectation (for the most part), but these thoughts tended to keep me away from this particular book and author until recently. I read it as part of the Knit the Classics knitalong/readalong blog. I am about a month behind, but I need to catch up because the book for November is
Tom Jones, a very different book....indeed.

Sylvia Plath's life story and the circumstances of TBJ's publishing are pretty well known, so I won't go into that. I do have to say that the book was not tiresome as I believed it to be in school. I can't say she is a favorite, but the character of Esther Greenwood fascinated me. I could relate to a lot of the pressure she feels to live a certain lifestyle in which she has no interest, not to mention her dislike of the hypocrisy of the people around her.

I actually liked the ambiguous ending, which is highly unusual for me. Ambiguous endings usually frustrate me because I tend to believe some authors choose them so as not too seem too "pat."

Would I read this again? Probably not...but I did enjoy the book in spite of myself!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I actually read this book in high school sometime back in the early 70's. I enjoyed it in some ways, but Plath was never my poet of choice, even back then. Have you read her collection of poetry, Ariel, yet? I think it's a great accompaniment to 'The Bell Jar' and rounds out a lot of the impressions you get there.

Then cross Sylvia Plath off your list and get on to reading Anne Sexton. If you haven't already!