the bell jar

Sylvia Plath’s only novel is said to be (semi-)autobiographical, and with The Bell Jar written in the first person it was just near-impossible for me to detach Sylvia Plath from protagonist Esther Greenwood. In the novel, Esther, an A-student from Boston in her twenties, wins an editorship at a fashion magazine in New York in the summer of 1953. The story begins harmlessly, with comic episodes, but soon turns to darker alleys, as Esther comes home from the summer and questions her worth. She cannot see anything significant or interesting in her future, and tries to find ways to kill herself.

Sylvia Plath committed suicide and died at the age of 30, shortly after the publication of her novel. (Her husband Ted Hughes’ second wife also committed suicide, and also took her young daughter’s life.) Forty-six years later, Sylvia and Ted’s son, Nicholas Hughes, who was only a baby when his mother put her head in the oven in the next room, hanged himself in 2009.

Esther survives, but she’s only an episode in Sylvia Plath’s life. Who knows what she might have done, the moment she stepped off the page?

The Mighty Reading List!

Feast for Crows

The Kobayashi Maru of Love

Showbiz Lengua

PGS Horror issue

Floating Dragon

El Bimbo Variations

The Tesseract

Faithful Place

Moxyland

Zoo City

The Dispossessed

Our Story Begins

Glass Soup

Here on Earth

The Pull of the Moon

Little Bee

Story Quarterly Issue 44

The Bell Jar

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