The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath

1917 Words Aug 14th, 2015 8 Pages
Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar explores the life of nineteen-year old Esther Greenwood, an English major who is rather disdainful toward the 1950’s society she lives in. Esther does not desire to be controlled by society’s gender-based constraints. To add on, Esther feels greatly oppressed by the patriarchal framework constructed. The existence of the “authentic self” is absent in Esther’s life as she embarks on the search for her identity. Despite her successes in school, Esther slowly begins to descend into a mental breakdown since she cannot come to terms with her authentic self. Throughout The Bell Jar, Esther’s identity is constituted through a series of masks, costumes as well as performances. By the end of the novel, Esther escapes from the bell jar by eradicating abnormal and queer desires and recovers by possessing the performance of conforming to the disciplining structures of heteronormative expectations. To begin with, a bell jar is “a bell-shaped glass jar or cover for protecting delicate instruments or for containing gases or a vacuum in chemical experiences” (“Bell jar”). In other words, a bell jar prevents the outside surroundings to seep into the inside and protected surrounding. A bell jar also displays the object it is protecting and shielding from the outer surrounding. In the novel, Esther Greenwood is trapped inside a bell jar. Esther admits in chapter fifteen that in her bell jar, she stews in her own “sour air” (185). The sour air that heavily rests…

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