Friday, August 5, 2011

The Bell Jar is Middle Aged

I can't believe they teach this novel in high school! That's just asking for trouble. I home school mainly to keep my daughters ignorant of SP's existence. However, this is a nice reflection on an iconic book.


  1. I'm quite cautious of Plathians myself. So annoying.

    Are you concerned girls might identify with SP to point of glamorising her suicide? Or are you concerned about her clever girl as victim status? Or the difficulties of combining a creative life with mothering? Or the problem of being a talented woman in the shadow of a talented man? The series of questions is probably enough reason in itself to steer impressionable young girls away.

    And what about the Brontes? Which should come first for a female teenage reader? Learning about their lives, or reading their books?

    My niece studied the film Donnie Darko in high school. Now that's going out on a limb!

  2. Yes, yes, yes and yes! She's someone who you really need some maturity to deal with...

    Brontes ? Life before books :) Jane Eyre before Wuthering Heights.

  3. I loved this. I remember reading the Bell Jar when I was a grown-up. It was a lot for me THEN. And I loved the comment by motherhugger. And I loved your response. Oh, too much goodness and wisdom, Melissa! However shall I cope? :)

  4. I was obsessed with SP between about 16-20. I thought she was glamourous. I still love her poetry - she was brilliant - but as a mother I'm more haunted by the sadness and desperation that led her to take her own life. I wonder what her mature poetry would have looked like. I don't pity her and think of her as TH's victim, but I feel a lot more compassion for her as a person.