Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Bell Jar, 50th Anniversary

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under--maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational--as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.

In January we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Slyvia Plaths, The Bell Jar. The Bell Jar will always hold a special place in my heart, I remember reading it for the first time whilst studying for my A-levels, we  were studying Plath's poetry and comparing it to The Bell Jar, at this time in my life, I was feeling isolated from my friends and family and this book spoke to me, it opened up a world of understanding, before reading this I didn't know anything about depression, I didn't know what it was or what the symptoms were and this helped me discover that and in-turn discover more about myself. Whilst it still took me a few years to speak to other people about the way I was feeling, the bell jar will always be the book that made me understand and for a while it was the only way I knew that other people had and were going through the same thing as me. It made me realise I wasn't alone.

So even though I am a little late in writing this post I thought to celebrate I would share with you some of my favourite quotes from the book:

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.” 

“I couldn’t see the point of getting up. I had nothing to look forward to.” 

“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow. There was shadow in bureau drawers and closets and suitcases, and shadow under houses and trees and stones, and shadow at the back of people's eyes and smiles, and shadow, miles and miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth.” 

“I felt myself melting into the shadows like the negative of a person I'd never seen before in my life.”

So Thank you Sylvia for letting me know I wasn't alone and that what I was feeling wasn't abnormal, I'll never be able to tell you how much you helped me to survive.

No comments:

Post a Comment