Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar is nothing less than a rite of passage for generations of women. MSNBC’s Ali Velshi speaks with Emily Van Duyne, Plath expert and author of the upcoming book Loving Sylvia Plath, about the legacy and misconceptions of The Bell Jar and its creator.
Like many young women, Van Duyne traveled a similar mental health journey as Plath, albeit without the electric shock therapy. Seemingly a dark story of depression and struggle, Plath’s story is also one of humor and recovery.
“I read the book for the first time when I was 14 years old and I thought to myself, Oh this is so strange and sad,” explains Van Duyne. “And then I read it as a 17-year-old. I was struggling with depression at the time. Then, I felt like Plath was telling my story. But I still didn’t really quite see the humor and raw satire, and also the critique of society, particularly the way society was misogynistic, and gendered and structured to do harm to women in many ways in the 1950s.”
Listen to Velshi and Van Duyne discuss The Bell Jar:
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Ali Velshi and Sylvia Plath expert Emily Van Duyne discuss The Bell Jar