Sylvia Plath's only novel (originally published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas) is one of the most powerful works depicting mental illness in women ever written. Taking a semi-autobiographical stance, Plath's central character Esther Greenwood is making her way as a high-flying writer in New York only to lose it all and sink into depression.
Its usage of electroshock therapy and other treatments was a wakeup call for society's treatment and understanding of those suffering from a mental illness. The title refers to Plath's haunting description of feeling like she's trapped under a bell jar, struggling to breathe. The novel eerily echoes Plath's real-life downfall the world renowned poet would commit suicide a month after its publication.
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