The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

1554 Words Feb 4th, 2018 6 Pages
In the Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath explores the role of women in society in 1950s New York City through her relationships and interactions. Esther Greenwood is the major character and is therefore central to the novel. The book is considered to be a “roman a` clef” portraying the painful summer of Sylvia Plath’s psychotic breakdown in 1953, and contains “thinly disguised portraits of her family and friends”. (O’ Reilly, 2)
Esther Greenwood becomes alienated from the American society in the 1950’s – a time when materialism is at its peak. The Bell Jar chronicles Esther’s summer as she interns with a fashion magazine in New York. This is analogous to Plath’s experiences working at Mademoiselle magazine in New York City. In the initial parts of the novel, Esther Greenwood is seen to be attempting to adapt to the strange, busy world that is New York. She is encountering this fast paced life for the first time. She is away from the comforts of home. She is only nineteen years old, and has won a summer guest internship at a prestigious fashion magazine Ladies’ Day. This fictional magazine Ladies’ Day is modeled on such real magazines that were being published at the time, such as the Ladies’ Home Journal and Mademoiselle. Esther tries to conform and mold herself into a sophisticated, formal woman in the elite world that she has been…

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