Gender Double Role In The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath

1405 WordsDec 8, 20176 Pages
Throughout the story “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath, Esther’s mental health deteriorates overtime due to various factors in her social environment such as double standards. The novel begins with Esther’s internship at the Ladies’ Day magazine in New York City. Despite living the life every girl wishes to live, Esther is dejected and feels disengaged with the environment around her; thus resulting in the beginning of an identity crisis. Through the events of the story, gender double roles in the areas of education, careers, virginity and marriage affect Esther’s life significantly and it consequently leading to Esther’s confusion with her identity within the society. During the 50s, women were seen to be inferior to and dependent on men as…show more content…
Due to this Esther is surprised when she sees Dr. Nolan as a psychiatrist as she did not think that a woman could be at a high position like the one Dr. Nolan was at. Although Esther is living the life every girl wishes to live she feels unhappy. Esther holds poetry and literature close to her heart but due to gender double standards, Esther’s mother discourages her to follow her dreams and learn shorthand instead in order to become a good housewife. Men were allowed to pursue their dreams and were encouraged to study and become successful. Esther feels that although she is a well educated woman, her future will not be bright. Upon returning from her internship, Esther finds out that she has not been accepted to the summer writing school, this confuses her about her future and she begins to lose control over her life. Double roles in the area of education and careers caused a lot of grief for Esther thus resulting in the beginning of an identity crisis which eventually becomes so severe that it leads to depression. A woman’s virginity was considered to be precious as pureness was really important for a girl. Women were only allowed to have sex after marriage; whereas men could have sex before marriage. According to Esther, her virginity is a big factor that is weighing her down. The conflict between losing her virginity before marriage or after marriage causes her to become confused about what would
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