"The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath is a semi-autobiographical novel that follows the mental breakdown of Esther Greenwood, a young woman in her early 20s.
Set in the 1950s, Esther is a gifted writer and aspiring poet who wins a prestigious internship in New York City. However, as she tries to navigate the pressures and expectations of society, she becomes increasingly disillusioned and depressed. She feels isolated and disconnected from the people around her, and struggles to find a sense of purpose and meaning in her life.
Throughout the novel, Esther's mental state deteriorates, and she becomes increasingly suicidal. She is eventually institutionalized and undergoes shock therapy, but ultimately begins to recover and regain a sense of hope and purpose.
The novel explores themes of mental illness, the pressures and expectations of society, and the search for personal identity and meaning. It is a powerful and haunting portrait of one woman's struggle with depression and the societal forces that contribute to it.