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Reading group contributor AlexJones has already pointed out how funny Plath can be , noting:. Pickledshrew agrees :. I agree, although wherearemyglasses suggests that this position is controversial. Humour is subjective.
By Thomas Hardy
I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't find certain passages in The Bell Jar as amusing as I do. Yet, I'm still sure it's wherearemyglasses' friend who misunderstood the book.
It's a goldmine for one-liners, for a start. So too has: "If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I'm neurotic as hell. OK, those phrases reveal a certain bleakness of outlook — but horror and comedy are frequently good companions. Possibly the funniest passage in the book comes when Esther is considering different methods of suicide: "The trouble about jumping was that if you didn't pick the right number of stories, you might still be alive when you hit bottom.
Elsewhere, there's plenty of more straightforward comedy. Is there anyone, for instance, who didn't laugh when everyone on placement came down with such exuberantly described food poisoning? Or at the acuity of Esther's remark: "There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends"? In fact, although it also has frustration, horror and darker shades, most of the depiction of Esther's time in New York is hilarious.
There's merciless satire of the queasy glamour of the fashion world so easily undone by crabmeat , the doe-eyed willingness of her fellow interns to lap up such nonsense, and Esther's own detachment from it.
There's also Doreen, a force of nature, dressing gown "the colour of sin", knowing everything, mocking everyone. Even later, there are moments of high comedy. Literally, in the scene where Esther flies straight down a mountain on skis she has no idea how to control. Like so much of the comedy in the book, her descent is wrapped up in vertiginous horror — but that only heightens the humour when Esther declares she's going to get up and "do it again", and Buddy replies: "No you're not … your leg's broken in two places.
On the subject of awfulness, there's also Esther's poor mother, a source of ridicule and comedy even when Esther is in her suicidal depths: snoring, misunderstanding everything, spouting absurdities like: "I knew you'd decide to be all right again. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists?
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