chapter  2
39 Pages

Straddling the Atlantic

Sylvia Plath moved from America to England late in 1955, when she was twenty-two years old. Given her residences in both countries, it is not surprising that Plath's speaking voices hover at different points over the Atlantic. In spite of her association with two countries, Plath's midatlanticism is largely ignored by critics, who contest ownership of Plath and the 'facts' about her life and work by fighting over her nationality, making her one thing or the other, or disregarding the issue of nationality altogether. Plath's writing plays out a perpetual displacement, a midatlanticism that is neither American nor English. There is a moment in The Bell Jar that mirrors the indeterminacy of midatlanticism. If the American Girl is The Bell Jars topic, exposing her as a dangerous fiction is at the top of its agenda. 'Cultural hybridity' is central to The Bell Jar, which questions any notion that there can ever be a perfectly enclosed place.