We extract the good and the bad in life. Accept it. And still, remain confined to what feels familiar and ours. Books like The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath must be re-read until you find it impossible to think of a time when you didn’t fall into such a lacuna. Sylvia Plath’s novel is at the center of her being. And if you’ve read her poetry, the whole thing unravels itself page after page in The Bell Jar.
Modern life doesn’t meditate on such loneliness the way this book does. The seriousness of it lives on which is wired to Sylvia’s emotions as my own. Its vocabulary consists of angst, fear, loneliness, and sadness.
Some of us feel loneliness in the lack of intimacy, some in conversations, and some in emotional support. And there are some souls that feel it all; all at once and for a long time. This stretch of time refines our sense of being, doesn’t it? And while this happens – we lose things too.
The urgency of Sylvia’s time and circumstances are deeply grounded in the book. Its characteristic quality is her seeking for answers that reality failed to provide, that relationships punctured, and society considered unspeakable.
The Bell Jar is Sylvia’s lonely voyage into self-reflection. Which often surfaces in these pages as wisdom, as courage, and as intimate fragments of her. Which only a book could contain and not the world.
The Bell Jar reminds us of life’s unwavering insignificance. Its inescapable loneliness. Which is as much yours as it is mine. And it is the measure of the things we don’t say. To read it is to grasp what’s remaining even after language ceases to exist.
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