The Bell Jar is the only novel by the renowned poet Sylvia Plath. The novel, which has been described as a witty but harrowing coming of age story, contains autobiographical elements relating to Plath’s struggles with bipolar disorder. The Bell Jar was originally published in London in January of 1963—a month before Plath’s suicide—under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The novel appeared posthumously in England under her own name in 1966, and in America, over the objections of her mother, in 1971.


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See a complete list of the characters in The Bell Jar and in-depth analyses of Esther Greenwood, Mrs. Greenwood, and Buddy Willard.

Literary Devices

Here's where you will find analysis of the main themes, motifs, and symbols literary devices in The Bell Jar.


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Deeper Study

Enchance your understanding of The Bell Jar by reading about Sylvia Plath and background on the novel and mini essays about the Rosenbergs, the novel’s explanations for Esther’s mental illness, and the coming of age elements in the novel.