I finished reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath today, and I was crying at the end. I was left with a bittersweet feeling.
Esther went through so much in the book to find her way back from depression and being suicidal. The ending left the reader with hope that she would be able to continue on with a nice life, and she would be able to overcome the gender politics her her time (the 60’s) to be the woman she truly wants to be. That made me happy.
The sadness came from knowing this book was semi-autobiographical and based on Sylvia Plath’s life. And we all know Sylvia didn’t get the happy ending. She was able to write the possibility for Esther, but couldn’t stop the depression from taking over her own life.
Also, the way mental health institutions are portrayed in the book makes me ever so grateful for the advances in that field. Those shock treatments sound brutal.