The Bell Jar – La campana di vetro

Titolo originale (ingl): the Bell jar
Autrice: Silvia Plath
Voto: 3.5/5
Anno di pubblicazione: 1963
Numero di pagine: 240

Esther Greenwood, giovane studentessa di Boston, viene selezionata per uno stage a New York alla redazione di una prestigiosa rivista. Tuttavia, si rende conto di non essere minimamente eccitata o motivata da questa grande opportunità nella grande mela. Comincia così a soffrire di insonnia, insicurezza, data appunto dalla crescente difficoltà nel trovare la propria la strada.

È un romanzo autobiografico, poiché Esther è l’alter-ego dell’autrice. È un libro drammatico che racconta l’insicurezza di una giovane donna alle prime armi nel mondo del lavoro. Sarà tale insicurezza, l’indecisione, anche in amore, e una società che non prende sul serio i suoi sogni, che la porteranno a poco a poco nel baratro della depressione clinica. La protagonista si sente come rinchiusa in una campana di vetro senza ossigeno.

È un romanzo estremamente crudo, realistico, data anche dalla sua intrinseca vena autobiografica. Venne scritto da Sylvia poco prima del suo suicidio, e con questo suo ultimo (e unico) straziante romanzo ci descrive un mondo cupo, ingiusto. Evidenzia l’importanza delle scelte che dobbiamo fare nella nostra vita, ma cosa accade se non siamo in grado di prendere una decisione? Se una scelta escludesse l’altra? Avere una famiglia o una carriera? La depressione viene analizzata alla radice: cosa porta una giovane donna con una vita davanti a sé e una grande opportunità in una clinica psichiatrica?

Dare un parere su questo romanzo è difficile, perché vi lascia davvero l’amaro in bocca. Di sicuro non è un romanzo che lascia indifferenti.


Esther Greenwood is a student in Boston who is selected for an internship in a well-known magazine brand in New York. However, even if she is supposed to have the time of her life in the glamourous lifestyle of the Big Apple, she feels demotivated and frustrated. She therefore begins to suffer from insomnia, insecurity, due to the difficulty to make any important choice. She therefore becomes increasingly depressed.

It is an extremely harsh semi-autobiographical novel, due to its strong contents and the description of the protagonist’s raw feelings and emotions and her gradual descent into clinical depression. Esther feels like she is locked into a Bell Jar where she is struggling for breath.  The book was written by Sylvia a short while before her suicide, so it obviously reflects her feelings, her darkness and the impossibility of achieving her dreams in a society that doesn’t take them seriously. She highlights the importance of making the right choices in your life and the catastrophic consequences of the wrong ones. But what if we have too many choices before us and we find ourselves unable to pick a way in our life?What if one choice excludes the other? This impossibility of finding his own way and this quest for an identity are masterly depicted by Sylvia, who also suffered from depression.

I really liked this book, even though I must say that it will surely leave a bitter taste in your mouth.

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

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