Sylvia Plath and the Bell Jar

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"The bell jar hung, suspended, a few feet above my head…” For most people, when the name Sylvia Plath comes to mind, the word “psychotic” is the word that follows; however, there was more to Plath than her demented works. Throughout her shortened life, Plath had a variety of titles bestowed upon her: daughter, sister, student, wife, mother, teacher, author, and poetess However, Sylvia Plath was a haunted soul, as she also had the labels of “manic depressive” and “bipolar.” Her constant struggles with her mental illnesses are evident in her writing, especially her semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar.
Aurelia Schober, Plath’s mother, was studying at Boston University when she fell in love with her professor that taught German and biology, Otto Plath, whom she would marry in January 1932. Later in that same year on October 27, Plath was born to the couple. Plath’s father passed away when she was only eight. (Academy of American Poets) From then on, Plath began publishing her poems. In everything she did, she strived towards being flawless; she had straight A’s, was a good daughter, and earned prestigious prizes (Gilson). Schober aided in pushing her daughter towards excellence and always made sure Plath knew how proud she was of her. In fact, Sylvia’s mother collected her daughter’s achievements and praised her highly for them (Liukkonen). By 1950, she had been given a scholarship to attend Smith College and had hundreds of publications, which she would add to substantially in the time she spent at Smith (Gilson).
Symptoms of severe depression began to plague Plath in her early years of college (Poetry Foundation). One of Plath’s short stories, “Sunday at the Mintons,” was published in 1952 in the magazine Mademoiselle while ...

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