The Bell Jar was banned for many reasons, including its blasphemous words and discourse on the topics of suicide and sexual life. But the most critical reason for such rejection was that the book undermined the traditional ideals of a woman’s role as a mother and wife.
Sylvia Plath lived in America after WWII. She had a mental illness and turbulent relationships with her husband. Besides, she wrote confessional poetry, which was a new genre for the 1950s. Sylvia had an emotional and profound background to write painfully sincere prose. She dug into the depth of her inner world to put it on paper. As it could be expected, her novel was banned for some time. It is a challenging task to name just one reason for such rejection. Here are some of them.
First, The Bell Jar discusses suicide, which was a taboo in Christian society. Killing oneself was a disgusting sin. Moreover, the person who committed suicide was the only one to blame. Neither their non-sensitive relatives nor society could perceive it as a result of a mental illness. Plath was too open in her descriptions. In particular, mentioning the female protagonist’s sexuality outraged the public.
Second, Plath’s work confronts the stereotypes and expectations that women face during their lives. It shows how destructive these ideals of a housewife may be for an ambitious and smart young lady.
Third, The Bell Jar satirizes the happy and righteous lifestyle of the working middle class in America. Not all people who appeared to be successful were them indeed. It was one of the reasons why many critics found the novel too depressive and demotivating.