The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

Read more about Syliva Plath here:

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About The Bell Jar:

Esther Greenwood is a young woman from the suburbs of Boston. Esther is given the chance to work a summer internship at a prominent magazine in New York City under editor Jay Cee. Unfortunately, Esther isn't stimulated or excited by the big city and the glamorous culture/lifestyle that girls her age are expected to love. Instead, her experiences frighten and disorient her. This leads her to many struggles she faces through out the novel.

Where it takes place:

"The Bell Jar" takes place in the Summer of 1953. Towards the beginning, she is in New York for an internship that she just so happens to hate. Esther grew up in the suburbs of Boston, and later returns there after leaving New York.

New York City, NY: Where Esther's internship took place.

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Boston, MA: Esther's hometown.

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Main Characters:

  • Esther Greenwood
  • Buddy Willard
  • Mrs. Greenwood
  • Mrs. Willard
  • Dr. Nolan
  • Dr. Gordon
  • Doreen
  • Jay Cee
  • Philomena Guinea
  • Constantin
  • Marco
  • Eric
  • Irwin
  • DoDo Conway
  • Ms. Norris
  • Valerie
  • Dee Dee


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Main Events:

-Esther Greenwood works as an intern at a women's magazine in New York City, but she feels an overwhelming sense of distance from who she is supposed to be.


-Esther returns home for the summer, where her cursed relationship with her mother and her rejection from a summer writing program make her feel even worse than before.

-Esther attempts suicide, but is saved just in time.

-After her terrible experience in the psychiatric wards of two different hospitals, Esther ends up at a private institution where she finds a more suitable environment.

-While Esther's condition improves, her friend Joan's condition appears to but is really getting worse. After Esther's one-night stand with a Harvard professor, Joan commits suicide.

-Esther steps into her exit interview at the psychiatric institution.

A favorite quote, because everyone has wanted to cry when they were expected to smile.

Personal Opinion:

I really enjoyed how Esther is depressed throughout her story because of her feeling of alienation and being overly stressed out about being an outcast. Although it is a rather depressing story, it is relatable because I know others who struggle with depression and suicide thoughts. If there was one thing I had to change, it would be the part of the book when she is describing all of the morbid details of death.Because of the overwhelming conflicts within the story, it is rather interesting and is overall a good read.

Book Rating:

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Why 5 stars?

The book had an interesting topic and was very relatable. I recommend this book to those who struggle with depression, or to those who know people that do. Even those that do not struggle, would thoroughly enjoy this book.

Depression is everywhere: 5 Facts about Teen Depression

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A movie was created in 2012 to bring Sylvia Plath's book to life.