A Short Summary of the Bell Jar

A Short Summary of The Bell Jar
  When The Bell Jar was first published in 1963, the reviews were lukewarm, for British critics found it to be a critique of American society and deemed the title character a hopeless neurotic.The novel did not reach American shores for another several years,despite great demand in America for it. By the time that the novel arrived in America in 1971,Sylvia Plath was a household name and confessional literature was in vogue, and the women’s movement was in full bloom. The Bell Jar easily became the bestseller and it quickly established itself as a female adolescence novel.
  The Bell Jar is set in the New York City of summer 1953 in which narrator, Esther Greenwood, is one of twelve young women who has won a prize to work on a women’s magazine for a month as a guest editor. In New York, Esther becomes friends with Doreen, and admires her sexual attractiveness and social experiences,yet she despises Doreen’s dissipated and purposeless life. In contrast to Doreen, Jay Cee, the editor of the magazine, a successful career woman, tries to encourage Esther to apply more energy to her career, but Esther begins to feel as if she does not have a direction in her life. She is faced with a future dilemma of choosing between career and family, but she doesn’t want to choose, in fact, she wants both of them. Esther is supposed to grasp the big chance and have the time of her life; however, she does not fit into the world of high fashion.
  Esther wonders if she should marry and live a conventional domestic life, or attempt to satisfy her ambition. Buddy Willard, her college boyfriend, is recovering from tuberculosis in a sanitarium, and wants to marry Esther when he regains his health. But he does not understand Esther’s desire to write poetry, and when he confesses that he slept with a waitress while dating Esther, Esther thinks him a hypocrite and decides she cannot marry him. On the last night of her New York stay, Esther goes on a blind...