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Sylvia Plath 's Literary Escape

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Sylvia Plath’s Literary Escape
Sylvia Plath wrote The Bell Jar to liberate her from her past. This novel is the autobiographical tale of a young Sylvia Plath. Through Esther Greenwood, Sylvia manages to narrate almost exactly her life story. This narration includes her college days, her stay at the all-women’s college, her friendships with Doreen and Buddy Willard, her stay at a mental institution after a suicide attempt and even her deflowering. Sylvia penned the story in England under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas (Kehoe, para 16). Sylvia used a pseudonym because all though she changed all the characters’ names, the detail she put into her novel was borderline ferocious. The following essay will analyze why Sylvia wrote The Bell Jar, the
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Sylvia’s character Esther Greenwood acts as an alter ego for Sylvia. The personalities share in the same life events such as their time in college and their stay in New York at an all-girls hotel. The two women even share in the graver events such as their sexual life and eventually their suicide attempts. Even the people in Sylvia’s life and the character’s in Esther’s fictional life resembled one another. Esther’s mother, Mrs. Greenwood, and Sylvia’s own mother shared in the same mindset. Both had definite beliefs about a woman’s role in the world which neither Esther nor Sylvia reciprocated no matter how hard they tried. Another person in Sylvia’s life transformed into a character is the deceased father of Esther. Sylvia’s own father had died. In the novel, Esther attempts suicide by over-dosing in a crawl space (Plath, 169). In Sylvia’s real life, she overdoses the pills in a cellar (Materer, 22). Both personalities are admitted into a psychiatric facility where they receive electroshock therapy and both leave the psychiatric facility with board approval. The differences in the two people lie in their concluding attitudes about life. Esther Greenwood does survive at the conclusion of the novel, while Sylvia, on February 11, 1963 puts her head in the oven at her flat in London and turns on the gas killing herself (Ames,15). Perhaps, one of Sylvia’s last harrowing sentences in The Bell Jar was how she
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