The Bell Jar is Sylvia Plath’s only novel, she originally published it under a pseudonym because it was partially based on Plath’s own life. Since its publication, the Bell Jar has become a celebrated work of feminist fiction for its reflections on the treatment of women in 1950s society.
The novel follows Esther Greenwood, an intern at a New York fashion magazine. In the beginning of the book, we see Esther happy to begin her career in writing. But as the story unfolds, Esther’s life begins to spiral out of control. She becomes severely depressed and admits herself to a psychiatric facility.
Plath does a wonderful job of allowing us to feel what Esther is feeling. I don’t think it’s an easy novel to read, not because of the writing style, but because of the subject matter. Going into the depths of depression can be very triggering for certain readers, so I recommend some caution when reading this novel. That said, the Bell Jar is an important work of fiction that discusses many relevant topics such as feminism and mental illness.