The Bell Jar

I fin­ished The Bell Jar last night. I can’t real­ly say that it blew me away. The obvi­ous auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal ref­er­ences to Plath’s own life were rather…obvious, and the depic­tion of men­tal decay and rebirth didn’t do much for me either. Grant­ed, since the nar­ra­tor is the crazy one, the nar­ra­tive is going to be col­ored by and twist­ed by hes­ti­tan­cy and out­right refusal to tell us every­thing. For instance, Esther hates Bud­dy Willard. But if you think about the times you actu­al­ly meet Bud­dy he’s not that bad of a guy. I didn’t like the asy­lum bits either. they seemed clich , per­haps this is because of my dis­tance from when peo­ple still got shock treat­ments. of course they are hor­ri­ble. also, since it is set in the ber-restric­tive and con­ser­v­a­tive post-war years, the McCarthyite era, the prop­er things to do etc. that Esther has prob­lems with just bored me. things have changed, but The Bell Jar hasn’t. it is one of those works that is rad­i­cal for its time but seems stuffy and whiny to us young’uns.

i think i don’t like it because it is too attached to the time it was writ­ten. now it seems a peri­od piece, and the ‘50s are kitschy that any­thing about them doesn’t inter­est me much.