I have long been an admirer of Sylvia Plath, both personally and professionally, ever since I was exposed to her second collection of poetic works, Ariel. In this classic masterpiece are the pieces of a woman’s soul, bit by bit bleeding onto the page and ultimately brought to the hands of a reader. Sadly, I think that Plath’s legacy has, for too long, been daunted as one of deep despair, obsessive suicidal idealizations, and completely stripped of who Plath truly was, despite her illness.
She was a woman of dear sensitivity, vulnerability, and honestly, I believe that a great many people relate to her deep emotions though are just too fearful of society’s judgement to admit so.
That’s why, whenever I discovered the news that actress Kirsten Dunst (the Spider-Man movies, Marie Antoinette) would be putting on her director hat for the first time to direct the film adaptation of Plath’s only novel, The Bell Jar, and Dakota Fanning would be starring as Esther, I was thrilled.
For those who aren’t familiar with The Bell Jar, the novel, loosely based on Plath’s own experience with mental illness, follows a young woman named Esther Greenwood who has just accepted an internship in New York. She is the prime example of the ‘perfect’ girl and is often invited to lavish parties, given plenty of attention by the opposite sex, and essentially, lives a life many would be green with envy of. However, Esther doesn’t feel any kind of connection to these material things. Nevertheless, her life itself. In the novel, she says without emotional defense,
“I felt dreadfully inadequate. The trouble was, I had been inadequate all along, I simply hadn’t thought about it.”
~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar