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Feminism In The Bell Jar

Decent Essays
Marco is not successful in his attempted rape of Esther. Though his assault has detrimental effects on her mental stability, he does not break her or destroy her. However, Buddy succeeds in shifting the focus of the gaze to be socially oppressive. In The Bell Jar, Esther Greenwood is a woman of the 1950s who goes against the belief that women should marry; in fact, she declares, “I’m never going to get married” (Plath 93) while being proposed to by Buddy Willard. In his proposal, Buddy asks the question, “How would you like to be Mrs. Buddy Willard?” (92). In other words, he asks her if she would like to serve as an extension of himself. He is adhering to the Victorian notions of marriage. Her identity of Esther Greenwood will be erased with her marriage to Buddy Willard. Not only does society want Esther to succumb to her inferiority, but a specific man does as well. Society’s convictions in regards to women were so powerful that they entrenched themselves into the mind of a man Esther knew since childhood. These convictions aid Buddy in taking on the oppressive form of the male gaze. He does not view her sexually, but rather as something for him to own – someone for him to stamp his own name onto.
In “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers,” Aunt Jennifer does not serve as her own narrator, but is rather analyzed through the eyes of who is presumed to be her niece. Rich purposely denounces the male gaze by allowing for a woman to look upon another woman. She removes all sexual undertones
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