34 Readers
17 Sages

shell pebble


The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

I have found this marvellous book variously difficult and unsatisfying. I feel deep fellowship with Esther; the fact that at times I cannot understand her feelings and actions pulls and stretches the boundaries of empathy. In later readings I've felt less interested in her opinions and more in the unique interiority of the novel, mapping and delimiting Esther's space to exist as a woman. Plath makes her body an encumbrance, most tellingly when she dances the tango and is instructed by her partner to "pretend you are drowning". As an automaton, relinquishing control to a man, she is able to perform her role.