The Bell Jar: A Review



The Bell Jar: A Review

realistic fiction


(No spoilers, I promise)

10:08 AM. I feel the pages thinning between my thumb and fingers and as I near the end of The Bell Jar, I feel a sudden surge of dull panic. A novel I had oh so desperately wanted to finish and now that I am almost there, I haven’t found closure. I mean it can’t end this way…


But it can.

In fact, I am not dissatisfied by the way that Plath ended the novel. I am completely satisfied, yet there’s certainly a large part of my mind that has been shaken. The part of me that recognises that this is the most ‘real’ and tangible closure I could get from an autobiographical novel.

The book depicts Plath’s protagonist, Esther Greenwood as a successful student and writer. The author portrays Esther’s mind as almost transparent; the description used to display the characters thoughts of people and places are the most enjoyable yet heart-wrenching element of the novel, for me.

I have never been so torn between the feeling of dropping the book and leaving it unfinished and reading on to know how it ends ever before. Knowing that this was a reflection of her life and that the author took her own life (eventually) compelled me to read on, it would be disrespectful of me to stop before the end. 

Midway through the novel, the author does foreshadow the end as the novel follows an almost pessimistic tone from a certain point, which is cut ever so slightly by moments of optimism, but never really dies down.



‘At first I wondered why the room felt so safe. Then I realised it was because there were no windows’.


I guess this is more of me venting my feelings about the story than an actual review, bear with me. The thing is, I know that whether I read this ten years earlier or ten years on down the lie, I would pretty much feel just as I do today. But for me to read it just after I turned twenty, and following the neurosis of Esther, who is a similar age to mine and also turns twenty in some dark page, whose number I do not know – just makes the reading experience a little more truer to reality.


Part of the way through the novel, I thought I would like to read some of Plath’s poems as soon as I’d finished reading the book. Now, I’m not quite sure I could handle reading anymore of her work so soon after The Bell Jar.

screenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-4.png As for the title, I have never a felt a more befitting one for a novel before. screenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-4.png

I’m still at a loss for ways to describe the novel. The best way to summarise it would be to pick a question from the blurb itself: ‘what is reality, and how can it be confronted?’

At this point, all I can say is – read it.


On a brighter note, I hope you enjoy my first successfully transported but poorly made gif. 

I don’t think there’s such a thing as light-hearted reading anymore, if you know of any – do suggest some in the comments. Thank you guys.


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2016: Veils Don’t Sail?

It is the year twenty sixteen and women still feel the need to walk around covering every inch of skin, including their face! You no longer need to bend under the misogynist standards set by the no longer ruling patriarchy. You don’t need to step outside clad in black floor length clothes in fear of your abusive male spouse. You have human rights.We all have human rights. We have feminism! Wait, I’ll save you…

That’s already a whole seventy-four words in and I haven’t even introduced the topics of interest I will be covering today.

Hello people of the internet. I am sure quite a few of you might have already contemplated jumping off my post as you might have judged from the opening paragraph, that I am here to ‘ridicule’ feminism; but I assure you, I am not. This post is written for the sole purpose of educating/informing and creating a platform for healthy discussion of queries and questions.

I was inspired to write about the misconceptions of veiled women and the hijab when I happened to trod upon a pretty heated discussion between what seemed to be a group of rather ignorant people in the comments on a post on Instagram. Ah Instagram, of course. Where ever else.

However my need to literate my thoughts comes from more than just that, I am a young woman living in Britain, who dresses up everyday the way that I choose to – and that happens to end with covering my hair with a headscarf. Therefore, to me, it is important that the people I interact with in the world are aware that I am not forced to wear the hijab.

There is a lot of talk on Muslim women in the media, particularly social media, but what it is, is rarely discussed. Scriptures of all Abrahamic religions indicate a notion towards the covering of the hair and body. Where the rules of most religions are absolute, the interpretation of such divine laws are subjective; generally speaking,

hijab is – a religious code which is to be implemented by both men and women,

since the topic of this post is women; the female covering consists of loose clothing which is not skin tight nor transparent and a piece of cloth to cover the head and chest.

Some women choose also to cover their face with a veil or niqaab, showing only their eyes. 

You might be getting the jist here. Choice. Women that cover more of their bodies than other women, do so out of their own free will. To question a woman’s freedom based off of what she wears does not empower her, rather – it restricts her choices. 

My opinion is not very humble when I say, that feminism without intersectionality is pointless. You need not to be an atheist or of a certain colour to believe in the equality of rights. You do however, need to take into account the individual experiences of different people based on the unique circumstances they were born into/live in and with. There are many women who believe that religion in fact inspires their inner feminist. 

Her choice to cover should certainly never offend you.

I get it. It’s extremely easy, to read the first few  poorly translated verses of a Holy Book of any religion ‘online’,  those that are clearly taken out of context – and say that this religion sets women back. Reading a few essays on Wikipedia, doesn’t make you a historian. You are far from the expert when you believe a Muslim woman is oppressed. 

Are women in some regions of the Middle East oppressed by a society that uses religion as a poor excuse to mistreat females? Yes. Do I deny the fact that in such cases, some women and young girls may be made to cover and live their lives deprived of the simple notion of making their own choices? Of course not. 

Women are still seen as second class citizens in many countries, It’s a fact. It happens. I am not here to hang such issues to rest, if anything – I believe more needs to be done to speak out for women who don’t have the opportunity to project their own voices. 

However, aren’t women in secular or Non Muslim developing countries abused? Are they not raped and forced into human trafficking? Are women in these countries not misused, mistreated and pushed aside too? They are. 

Shouldn’t our attentions and focus then, be on the women who need our efforts – rather than questioning why a free walking woman is covering her hair? 

Veils Don’t Sail 

Personally, I do not cover my face but I cover my hair, another woman may not cover her face nor her hair. 

Categorizing levels of covering/modesty to what can be worn and what cannot and judging the character of the women who choose to dress otherwise; is true oppression. 

I have seen fellow Muslim veiled women being spoken to in derogatory manners. A thin layer of fabric covering the face of a human does not devoid of the fact that she is a human. 

Her hair or face being covered should not come as a novelty in a world where almost anyone can mould, sculpt or mutilate/pierce their bodies to the way they like (literally).

Her choice to cover should certainly never offend you. 

Thank you for reading, feedback is always welcome on my blog.


* this was a self-illustrated blogpost, the doodles and drawings were created by yours truly *


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Women Under The Veil

“A society has no chance of success, if it does not educate its women”

– Khaled Hosseini (A Thousand Splendid Suns)

I’m not a student of politics who can give word perfect reiterations of human rights and state legislations. Nor am I a preacher, who can address every word of God sent down to man without blinking twice. I am merely a spectator in a mass of confusion, a writer aiming to put forward her feeble thoughts, a teenager who knows her rights.

H I J A B, a word that has caused immense misunderstandings over the recent decades, why are Muslim women obliged to wear it? How can any female be oppressed in such a way in the 21st century? When will they let go of such archaic laws and let women be free?

As global media is growing, we are becoming increasingly aware of issues in parts of the world that just half a century ago, we may not have even known existed. The general contradictions have grown to, what some people now believe as hard underlying facts; amongst the others, a strong contender is that Muslim women are oppressed.

The misunderstandings surrounding the topic of the oppression of women is one that, as suggested by a leading sociologist, is that the subordination of women has only been present since about four thousand years. Armstrong argues that in ancient polytheistic religions, women were highly respected due to them being worshiped as goddesses such as the Greek goddess, Hera. It is only since the introduction of monotheism that the focus shifted to a single male God, and woman were began to be seen as inferior.

The point put forward by Armstrong is valid to a certain degree, but it is also important to point out that before the introduction of a major world religion, Islam, women in polytheistic Arabia were not even considered as second class citizens, they were bought, sold and were merely seen as men’s property.

It is blatant that in many societies, till this day, women are not regarded as equal to men. This is seen as particularly true to nations in the East. The problem arises when we mix the inequalities taking place as being pushed by religion, when in actuality it is culture. A key notion in this view of females in Islam being oppressed is because they generally choose to wear a hijab. What we often fail to realise is that the covering of hair and skin is prevalent in traditional Judaeo-Christianity and not just Islam. What the spectators see as a form of patriarchal control, for the Muslim woman symbolises resistance to oppression, and encourages men to see them for the person they are rather then the outfit they are clad in. To think someone is oppressed is one thing, yet to pass laws permitting religious headwear is another.

The rise in extremist groups has shown Islam as a sexist and violent faith. These groups that claim females should not be educated or anything of the sort are a minority and Muslims worldwide condemn the horrific acts committed by these groups, but the bad press and generalisation that all Muslims have this ‘anti female’ view of life has taken precedence. What we forget is that Islam was the first ever religion to recognise women as equal to men, allowed them to run their own businesses and pursue an education and granted them with rights that women in the West didn’t see light of till about 1300 years later. One of these being, the right of a woman to initiate a divorce.

At times like this, it can be hard to distinguish between reality and what we see in the news. It is evident to historians and those that study religion, that Islam was the first to grant women with freedom and allowed them to gain a sense of identity, the rulings passed around 630 CE gave light to the injustice towards women and gave women the rights to keep their dowry and earnings.

The crucial factor in disagreements between faiths and people of different lifestyles is a lack of communication. The next time you see a lady in a veil, remember they are free thinking members of society and choose to wear what they wear. If you’re unaware of a custom or practice and would like to learn more, just ask a fellow Muslim or a person of any other faith that you would like to learn more of.

PC - @im_pakistan (Instagram)

Thank you for reading, please do leave feedback or suggestions as I would be happy to see them.