The text I have selected for the final project is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I first read the novel when I was middle school and not understanding a lot of it. I continued to go back to it through High school, rediscovering it again and again. I found that in different parts of my life, a new meaning emerged in rereading. I am really interested in reading critical discourse about The Bell Jar, since up until now, I have not necessarily looked at it critically. My relationship with the book has been very personal, and now, I will start to look at the work in a different light. Although, I think I am going to have a hard time narrowing what specific criticism I want to focus on, considering there is so much dialogue out there about The Bell Jar and Sylvia Plath’s life. Also, a lot of mainstream criticism of Sylvia Plath is interconnected with her life, mental illness, and how much “truth” is in The Bell Jar compared to Plath’s own life. I would like to unpack some of that criticism and find articles that challenge common discourse of Plath’s work.
In starting some preliminary research on MLA database, I found a lot of articles focusing on feminism and concepts of the female body. One in particular caught my attention since I am interested in both disability and feminist studies. The article is titled, “The Disabled Female Body as a Metaphor for Language in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar”, written by Marilyn Boyer. Another common theme that continues to appear in my search is the concept of motherhood and in some cases, the fear of motherhood. Two articles address these different aspects of motherhood – “Domesticity Values and Matrophobia in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar” by Ana Maria Martin Castilleios and “Mother, Madness, and the Middle Class in The Bell Jar and Les Mots pour le dire” by Elaine Martin. I found a lot of articles searching for only a few minutes, so I will not have any trouble finding articles, just determining what themes I want to focus on.