The balalaika is a three-stringed, triangular shaped musical instrument which originated in Russia.
In existence since 1922, it specialises in providing synopses of articles on a range of general-interest topics, written from a conservative, family-oriented perspective.
As is clear throughout The Bell Jar, young women in 1950s America were expected to keep themselves 'pure' for the man they were going to marry, whilst at the same time being under pressure to make themselves sexually desirable to their dates.
The Catch-22 situation is summed up very neatly by Anne Stevenson (whose own American upbringing coincided with that of Plath) in Bitter Fame, her biography of Plath, when she says: 'Everything was permissible to girls in the way of intimacy except the one thing such intimacies were intended to bring about' (p.19).
However, as Esther Greenwood found out, there was no shortage of advice:
A victrola is an old-fashioned, wind-up gramophone for playing 78 rpm records.
In America the making of 'rag rugs' at home began at a time when floor coverings were not obtainable by any other means. They were made using any remnants of cloth which were available, often scraps of old clothing.
Subsequently, as in the case of Mrs. Willard, the making of 'rag rugs' became a home-based craft hobby.
'Five and Ten' stores (sometimes known as 'nickel and dime' or 'five and dime', stores) were American shops where everything cost either five or ten cents.
One of the earliest examples of a 'five and dime' store was Woolworths (which first opened in 1878). Others included S.H. Kress & Co, McLellans, and Ben Franklin Stores.
Fixed price stores of this type are often known as 'variety stores'.
The history of Esther Greenwood's parents' marriage is identical to that of Otto and Aurelia Plath.
The couple met in 1929 when Aurelia took a course in Middle High German taught by Dr. Otto Plath, a biologist, entomologist and expert on the bumble bee.
Their marriage took place in January 1932 in Carson City, Nevada, when Aurelia was aged 25 and her husband was 46. They had travelled initially to Reno, Nevada (where divorce laws were liberal) as Otto Plath needed to obtain a divorce from his first wife whom he had not seen for fifteen years.
Its main symptoms are weight loss, fever, night-sweats, and the coughing up of blood-stained sputum.
It is believed that TB in America began at the time of Columbus, and by the turn of the twentieth century it was responsible for 10% of all deaths in the U.S.A..
The first American sanatorium was established at Saranac Lake in upper New York State by Dr. Edward Trudeau in 1886, and by 1938, there were 700 sanatoriums at different locations throughout the United States.
As mentioned previously, Dick Norton, on whom the character Buddy Willard is based, was treated at the Ray Brook Sanatorium in Saranac Lake.
The Ray Brook Sanatorium is now a medium-security prison known as the Adirondack Correctional Facility!
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), sometimes known as 'Ike', was a general in the United States Army and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during World War II.
A Republican, he subsequently became president of the United States from 1953 until 1961.
It is also the abbreviation for 'Periodic Acid-Schiff', a test carried out on human tissues in order to detect polysaccharides and other substances.
Does anybody know whether this has any bearing on TB?
One of the treatments available for tuberculosis between the early 1900's and the 1950's was Thoracoplasty, the surgical removal of one or more ribs in order to collapse a lung. With the advent of antibiotic drugs, such as streptomycin, this form of treatment for tuberculosis became increasingly rare from the late 1940's onwards, although it was still being practised in some parts of the world as recently as the late 1990's.
Skit Night (as far as can be gathered from the internet) is one of the events of Greek Week, which is a week-long celebration organised by the Greek societies (college fraternities and sororities) held during the Spring semester of the American college year.
It appears to be an evening of comic revues and sketches performed in order to raise money for charity ... possibly similar to the 'rag week' of British universities?
Can anyone throw any more light on this?
Mount Pisgah is a mountain summit in the Adirondacks in New York State.
Since 1948, the Mt. Pisgah Ski Centre has been in operation at the village of Saranac Lake, the site of the TB sanatorium where Dick Norton was treated.
These lyrics are almost identical to two lines from 'Wunderbar', a song from Cole Porter's 1948 musical, Kiss me Kate, which is based on Shakespeare's play, Taming of the Shrew. A film version of the musical was released in 1953.
In Letters Home (p.102), Aurelia Plath notes that Sylvia Plath spent the early part of January 1953 with Dick Norton at his sanatorium in Saranac Lake, and that she borrowed skis and without any previous professional instruction skied on the advanced slope.
Part of the message sent in a telegram to her family reporting that she had broken her leg, read:
BRINGING FABULOUS FRACTURED FIBULA NO PAIN JUST TRICKY TO MANIPULATE WHILST CHARLESTONING
A dybbuk is an evil spirit in Jewish mythology. It is said to be the soul of a dead person, who has transgressed in some way, which returns to inhabit the body of a living person.
The Dybbuk is the title of a play written by S. Ansky in 1914 in Russian or Yiddish, an English version of which was performed in New York in 1925/26.
The play was also made into a 1937 film Yiddish language film with the same title.
Tulsa is a city in the state of Oklahoma;
Biloxi is a city in the state of Mississippi;
Teaneck is a suburb of the New York metropolitan area, in the state of New Jersey;
Coos Bay is a city in the state of Oregon.
Listen to 'Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa' on Spotify
The Aztec people were indigenous to Mexico and generally spoke the Nahuatl language.
Their culture was at its height from the 14th to the 16th century but declined following the conquest of their main city, Tenochtitlan, by Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conquistador. The series of events which occurred in the wake of the conquest is sometimes known as 'the fall of the Aztec Empire'.
If torn (often by a fingernail or toenail), the stocking material unravelled in a particular way which became known as a 'ladder'.