Essay on The Bell Jar by Plath

Essay on The Bell Jar by Plath

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"If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I'm neurotic as hell. I'll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days" (Plath). Plath was in fact a schizophrenic, never really being cured and only receiving temporarily relief from her own mind with electroshock therapy. Her novel, The Bell Jar, is almost a self-biography with the veil of fiction over the story of Plath’s own life being so thin that her mother fought its publication (McCann 1631). Nevertheless, Plath’s immense hard work paid off and it was published. Writing was Plath’s passion and when she wrote, her life became an enthralling story. Sylvia Plath’s late teenage years, time right after college, and time in the mental hospital were all influential in writing The Bell Jar.

Being recognized as gifted in writing early on, Plath put all of her energy into this subject by becoming editor of her school’s newspaper and submitting over forty five articles to Seventeen Magazine before finally becoming published. Plath was a perfectionist when it came to writing. In college, the intense pressure of trying to maintain her scholarship and perfect grades started to get to her. She even wrote to her mother saying “I have practically considered committing suicide to get out of it [a science course] (qtd. in Malmsheimer 530). She also felt pressured as to what she would do with her life after college. “Her brilliance and accomplishments have no power to lead her to a place in the world. Instead, they drive her out of it” (Allen 400). As noted by Novels for Students, Part of Plath's frustration lay in what she perceived as a choice between becoming a free-spirited poet or choosing the wife/...


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...lmsheimer, Lonna M. "Sylvia Plath." American Writers. Ed. Leonard Unger, A. Walton. Litz, Molly Weigel, and Jay Parini. Supplement 1 Part 2. New York: Scribner, 1974. 526-49. Print.
McCann, Janet. “Sylvia Plath.” Magill’s Survey of American Literature. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Vol. 5. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1991. 1626-39. Print.
Perloff, Marjorie G. “ ‘A Ritual for Being Born Twice’: Sylvia Path’s ‘The Bell Jar’ ”. Contemporary Literature. 13.4, 1972. 507-22. Rpt in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Roger Matuz. Vol 62. Detroit: Gale, 1991. 390-95. Print.
Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. New York: Harper & Row, 1971. Print.
Allen, Mary. “Syvia Plath’s Defiance: ‘The Bell Jar’,” The Necessary Blankness: Women in Major American Fiction of the Sixties. 1976. 160-78. Rpt in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Roger Matuz. Vol 62. Detroit: Gale, 1991. 395-400. Print.

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