Week 3: Living Beneath the Bell Jar of Depression

As our discussion about Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and mental illness more broadly was beginning to wrap up, I asked the class if anyone had any last ideas or thoughts that they wanted to discuss pertaining to the novel. One student raised her hand and said that she just wanted to share a favorite line from the novel. We turned to the page and talked about it, and then I realized that there were a number of places in the text that these students just wanted to share. Our discussion continued as we marveled at Plath’s grasp of language.

Sometimes, I think, discussions can work better when they escape the confinements of preparation.

Lesson Plan Week 3

Powerpoint: Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar- Background

2 Comments

Filed under Grand Rounds

2 responses to “Week 3: Living Beneath the Bell Jar of Depression

  1. Yes, it has also been my experience that class discussions work best with only the broadest preparation. That’s a little scary, and I always want Plan B back-up material in case no one talks, but it’s also true that the only way to have a real conversation is to LISTEN to students and then RESPOND to what they have said. (I had too many teachers who seemed to think that a “discussion” involved asking the class questions on facts from the text. If there’s a “right” answer, then it’s a quiz and not a discussion :) )

    Your course sounds very, very intriguing. I hope it continues to go well!

    • Thanks, Katherine! It’s certainly been a learning experience for me. It’s tough to strike that balance of contributing my own insight and shaping the discussion but also allowing students to take the reins over our conversations. I’m glad that I can learn as I go and implement these ideas for our next class. I really appreciate your advice and continued support!

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