Sylvia Plath was a woman whose accomplishments as an outstanding poet and writer, are accentuated by the times that suppressed her growth and development. Plath combined her own morals and her own personal experiences into the autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar. The story of The Bell Jar directly mirrors the events that took place in Plath’s life. “Plath writes her own ambivalence about the place of women in the 1950s, alluded to above, into the character of Esther who operated at an intense level of anxiety throughout the novel - - an anxiety which leads her to her mental breakdown and suicide attempt” (Smith, 2010, para.7). Plath and Esther both conquered culturally and socially established traits that women should possess. Plath and
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She goes through many instances in which the most sane of people would not be able to return unscathed. But we as readers refuse to credit her misfortune because of our own insecurities and the constraints society has set upon us, even today. Esther Greenwood lives and copes with a mental illness in this book, and that is not something most people are comfortable with. We try to rationalize her actions, stating that she is just pressured by those around her, or her feminist views are what cause her troubles. The reality is a culmination of multiple factors, some of which are unexplainable. Very much like Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Esther’s story is taken with varying levels of sympathy and understanding. Many would see her as the typical brooding teenager, one who makes mountains out of molehills. She is unbelievably privileged, especially for the time in which her story takes place. One could say that she has it all, even more. But who are we to decide what is big and what is small? Who are we to decide what classifies one’s feelings as worthy of the label of illness or just simply disagreeable? The Bell Jar is indeed an important bildungsroman, because it opens discussion to harsh realities of life, ones in which many are unwilling to face. This unwillingness could have meant the end for Esther Greenwood; her mother being embarrassed of her daughter’s condition,
Throughout The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath explores a number of themes, particularly regarding the gender roles, and subsequently, the mental health care system for women. Her 19-year-old protagonist, Esther Greenwood, is the vessel through which Plath poses many probing questions about these topics to the reader. In the 1950s when the novel was set, women were held to a high standard: to be attractive but pure, intelligent but submissive, and to generally accept the notion of bettering oneself only in order to make life more comfortable for the significant male in her life. Esther not only deals with the typical problems faced by women in her time, but she has to experience those things through the lens of mental illness though it is up for
In Sylvia Plath's novel The Bell Jar, Esther Greenwood seems incapable of healthy relationships with other women. She is trapped in a patriarchal society with rigid expectations of womanhood. The cost of transgressing social norms is isolation, institutionalization and a lost identity as woman. The struggle for an individual identity under this regime is enough to drive a person to the verge of suicide. Given the oppressive system under which she must operate, Esther Greenwood's problems with women stem from her conflict between individuality and conformity.
Sylvia Plath was a troubled writer to say the least, not only did she endure the loss of her father a young age but she later on “attempted suicide at her home and was hospitalized, where she underwent psychiatric treatment” for her depression (Dunn). Writing primarily as a poet, she only ever wrote a single novel, The Bell Jar. This fictional autobiography “[chronicles] the circumstances of her mental collapse and subsequent suicide attempt” but from the viewpoint of the fictional protagonist, Esther Greenwood, who suffers the same loss and challenges as Plath (Allen 890). Due to the novel’s strong resemblance to Plath’s own history it was published under the pseudonym “Victoria Lucas”. In The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath expresses the
In The Bell Jar, Esther finds it extremely difficult to put her thoughts into words. She loses friends as she is unable to communicate with them. She lacks relationships due to her silent behaviour. “The silence depresses me. It isn’t the silence of silence. It’s my own silence,” (Plath 18) she says. Although at first Esther feels upset by the lack of connections she has, she loses motivation to even try and explain herself to others. Unlike Mr. Chance in The Cloud Chamber, and Deborah in I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Esther’s mental state does not improve, and she is unable to resolve lost connections. Esther’s mother tells her, “the cure for thinking too much about yourself is helping somebody who is worse off than you” (Plath 161). However, in her case, she’s so disconnected from the people who were once a big part of her life, that she doesn’t know who to reach out to. She doesn’t see herself being capable of maintaining stable and happy relationships with others when she can’t even maintain her own happiness.
Sylvia Plath is the author of the Bell Jar and was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer (JRSM. June, 2003). The Bell Jar book was published in London a month before Plath’s death in January, 1963. The book was first published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas, and then later published in Plath’s own name. Esther Greenwood is the main character in the Bell Jar. Esther suffered from mental illness and struggled against depressive environment and continuously aggravated madness that led to her suicide and death (JRSM. June, 2003). I ague that Esther’s mental illness was aggravated by her internal pressure and depressive environment in which she lived.
People's lives are shaped through their success and failure in their personal relationships with each other. The author Sylvia Plath demonstrates this in the novel, The Bell Jar. This is the direct result of the loss of support from a loved one, the lack of support and encouragement, and lack of self confidence and insecurity in Esther's life in the The Bell Jar. It was shaped through her success and failures in her personal relationships between others and herself.
Depression is a serious, but common mental illness the negatively affects the way a person acts, feels, and thinks. Depression can cause sadness, or a lose of interest in something they enjoyed doing before. It can also cause a person 's ability to work, and affect a person physically and emotionally. Some people describe depression feels as though they are standing under a floor of glass, screaming, and banging to try to get the attention of the outside world, but they go about their lives without you. The problem is no one knows you’re trapped, or can even hear you. There are many times throughout the novel, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, that Esther Greenwood feel similar to this. The protagonist, Esther, is a nineteen year old
Throughout The Bell Jar and The Color Purple both women are subjected to societal constructs that dictate the course of their lives. Although Celie and Ester come from different experiences and upbringings, they both endure the restricted freedoms, frustration, cruelty and violence that have been thrust upon women throughout history. In The Bell Jar Esther uses the fig tree story as a metaphor for her life. The fig tree and the figs upon it represent the opportunities and paths Esther's life could take. She shows her frustration by comparing her life to the fig tree saying “...
Sylvia Plath reflects upon her life in her novel, The Bell Jar. Esther, the main character, is oppressed by societal standards of the 1950’s. Women live unfulfilled lives due to societal standards. The subjection of women keeps them self-imprisoned, lacking individual success. Plath begins to demonstrate this by showing Esther’s college and young adult life in New York City.
The Bell Jar is a novel written in, 1963 written by Sylvia Plath. It is a story about a girl who under goes many traumatic life events that had the destiny to make or break her. The things she used to enjoy in life are no longer bringing joy to her life. She can’t find anything that gives her the will to go on. The Bell Jar is a story that will take reader on a journey with a girl who lets the gender roles of 1950s get the best of her. She lets people tell her what she can and cannot do and loses what it means to become your own person. The Bell Jar teaches the audience about the expectations, opportunities or restrictions on American Women in the 1950’s. As gender roles have become more diverse between a man and a woman, it is still more
Perhaps the most famous work of Sylvia Plath’s is The Bell Jar -- a book that follows the mental deterioration of a nineteen-year-old girl named Esther through the narration of Esther herself. Although Sylvia Plath hated life in general and committed suicide at the age of 32 after her husband left her, the myriad autobiographical elements, metaphors, and motifs that appear throughout her works produce a beautifully vivid representation of people, the world, and life itself (“Sylvia Plath”).
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
Sylvia Plath, the author of The Bell Jar, writes in a very simple and ordinary but exceptionally unique way. She put her whole young genuine heart and soul into this semi-autobiography. Her first person point of view allows the reader to really engage with the characters thoughts, specifically Esther Greenwood and her perspective on everything. In The Bell Jar, Esther Greenwood encounters the coming of many things, including age and mental illness. While the coming of age is normal for the majority of society, the coming of mental illness is abnormal. With that being said, many may classify Esther Greenwood as abnormal and deviant but in all reality,
Esther Greenwood, the protagonist of The Bell Jar by Silvia Plath, is cast under the spell of her own depression and the story of being released from the spell follows the structure of one of the 7 plot types Christopher Booker created. These 7 plot archetypes include the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, and lastly the archetype of Rebirth. The novel The Bell Jar is classified as the Rebirth plot, in accordance with the 5 stages that make up said archetype: The Falling Stage, Recession Stage, Imprisonment Stage, Nightmare Stage, and The Rebirth Stage. Readers follow Esther as she pulls herself through the stages, through the falling, the rising, and the falling once more, until she reaches