I know that the Bell Jar is well known for it's relevance to humanity. Though many people can say that they've never considered suicide, especially not by oven, I think most people (if not all) can relate to at least a moment described in this book. Plath struggles to find charm in the things she feels should be charming. It seems as though everything is part of a love-hate relationship. She either loves to hate something or hates to love it.
I am still reading it, slowly, but the part I think I relate to most (and most people I know can relate to as well) is where she talks about her future. She describes her possible future outcomes as being mapped out like a fig tree. There are so many options out there but she can't decide which branch to reach for and she just keeps putting off making a decision. Meanwhile the figs grow old and rotten.
I wish I had a passion stronger than most. Sometimes I think that one of the dumbest choices I have ever made was to major in a field of art. Partly because I feel so uninspired sometimes. And, though I love fashion and everything to do with it (designing, creating, merchandising, purchasing, etc) I feel torn as a human being for choosing something so materialistic. I know that when I was deciding to go into design, I wanted to make a difference but I still don't know how to do so.
Ideally, I would like to bring acceptance to the world of all body types and their related adornments. But at the same time, I don't want to accept the growing rate of obesity. Not because it is unpleasing aesthetically, but because of the health concerns.
And, as far as culture is concerned, there are some things that I believe lose meaning when they are accepted by and eventually lost into a culture not their own. For instance, the Americanization of kimonos: once used for ceremonial purposes and/or to signify such categories as class/wealth, beauty, importance, wisdom, and honor. Adaptations of such are mass-marketed to the kill-all culture and Americans wear (wore) them around as the hottest new trend, the latest look for look's sake.
There are still plenty of people out there, living in America even, that are knowledgeable, respectful and proud of their heritage but there are also, sadly, many who have no clue. I, for example, feel almost ashamed when the topic arises because I honestly don't know much about my family's past. I believe the majority of my ancestors came from England.
I said "almost ashamed" because there are days when I feel no connectivity to the past. I don't see why I should bother getting to know my ancestors if they didn't stick around long enough to get to know me. And if my family doesn't voluntarily educate me on my past, I don't think they feel it is all that important either.
Still, some days, I wish I was proud of our past. I dream of stories I could tell friends and growing-up family members (and those to come) of how our names mean something and how we are a family that earned our keeps. But I am afraid my family is one of the families that got swept up in the modern world where our biggest concern is the future. Even then, it's only for the near future. We are normally only concerned with the futures of ours and of the people we know and love presently.
And then we have Chuck Palahniuk to remind us that, "this is [y]our life and its ending one minute at a time."