The Bell Jar shocked me in how much I was able to relate to it, which as anyone who has read my thesis might have realized, I do perhaps too often with books about madwomen. Unlike many of the "mad" women who found their way into my thesis, however, Esther's problems seemed much closer to those things that I've been dealing with on a daily basis. What am I doing with my life? Furthermore, is that what I really want to or should be doing? Am I making sure to include the right people along the way? Was that decision that I just made (whether it's what type of coffee I just purchased, how I chose to spend my weekend, or that job I applied for) really the right choice? I'm really fascinated by the way these seemingly minor decisions an stand to drive a person crazy if they pile up too high.
I think, too, that another part of The Bell Jar I found really interesting was the way that Esther seemed to fall deeper and deeper into madness as the people around her became more accusatory. It begs the question that I came to again and again in my thesis: How relative is "madness," and how can we deem someone "mad" just based on our own ideas of sanity and "normal"?
"I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo."