The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

By Sylvia Plath

Esther Greenwood is very good, attractive, drastically proficient, and profitable, yet slowly going under—maybe for the final time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly attracts the reader into Esther's breakdown with such depth that her madness turns into palpably actual, even rational—as available an event as going to the flicks. A deep penetration into the darkest and so much harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is a rare accomplishment and a haunting American vintage.

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Charles Here’s a tip: if you meet a king and can’t remember his name, you might as well guess Charles. You’ve got a pretty good shot. I’ve arrived at the Charles section and it’s a disturbingly long one—forty-eight Charleses, to be exact, spread over twenty-four pages, hailing from just about every European country that could afford a cape with some ermine trim, including Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Holland, Hungary, and Austria. It’s sort of helpful that a lot of the Charleses have nicknames, which I consider trying to turn into some sort of Dr.

I can’t believe this. ” “Oh, that’s the best part. It’s a poem that British schoolboys used to say. It goes like this: Burke’s the butcher, Hare’s the thief, Knox the one who bought the beef. T H E K N OW- I T- A L L The family laughs. ” says Julie’s mom. “You’re scary,” says Eric’s wife, Alexandra. Eric sits back and crosses his arms on his chest, one of his favorite gestures. He looks at me and smiles. He knows he’s beaten me. I’m annoyed at the Britannica for not having that poem in it. I’m annoyed at myself for picking Burke and Hare.

Really? ” He isn’t being sarcastic. He is actually interested. “They were Muslim,” I say. I turn to the third-graders at the board next to me. I’m ready for my match. Problem is, after having seen my lack of chess chops, they’ve lost interest. I’d be a waste of their time. So I pack my bag and go. I probably knew the gap between information and know-how was big, but I had gotten a firsthand lesson in just how big it can be. On the way home, I kick my Palm Pilot’s butt, then explain to it all the mistakes it made.

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