After reading Sylvia Plath’s novel “The Bell Jar”, the first thought that occupied my mind was that I had never quite read a book like this one before.
The reason I had felt like this was because this book accentuated very dark and depressing vibes while reading it and it was difficult not to have these vibes reflect on your own mood after closing the book. In other words, I almost felt as if I was in Esther’s world (even if I had never experienced a mental illness before) every time I had finished a chapter or put the book down to continue reading it later.
At the beginning of the book, I found it easier to relate to a girl like Esther Greenwood as she appeared as a normal young woman who was attending college and was ambitious in terms of her career path as a writer. I enjoyed how independent and diligent she seemed because when relating this to feminism, it is incredible to see a young woman (especially from this time period) attempting to pursue her goals and dreams.
As the novel progressed, I felt that it gradually became harder to relate to Esther and the ordeal she was going through. As someone who has never gone through a mental illness, it was obviously very difficult to understand and process what was going through Esther’s mind and why she suddenly went from completely normal, to someone who was struggling, lost and hopeless in life. However, these depressing and negative feelings that Esther was experiencing were still somehow able to transcend to me as it made me feel sympathetic towards her and it was immensely difficult to read about how she was mentally deteriorating.
Overall, I thought that the second half of the book had the power to completely transform one’s mood as well as emotions for the entire rest of the day after reading the chapters and I had never gone through an experience like this with any other novel.