The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

1318 Words6 Pages
As one of the most renowned and well-known literary critics in the world of composition, Harold Bloom has self-importantly granted himself the privilege of specifying the reasons as to why we read. From human connection to self-actualization to the acquirement of knowledge, he adheres passionately and unquestionably that “the strongest, most authentic motive for deep reading…is the search for a difficult pleasure.” Bloom, as an experienced critic, fully recognizes the task of judging a book for its merit. Harold Bloom understands that we read not only to learn of literary composition but also because “we require knowledge, not just of self and others, but of the way things are.” This proves true to essentially all humans for any great…show more content…
Both Dr. Gordon and Esther’s mother fail to understand her despair. They encourage Esther to forget her pain instead of trying to understand it. Because both her mother and doctor have failed her, Esther must learn to solve her problems on her own. She no longer believes in a cure for her illness and so she relies on the only escape she has left: suicide. Her thoughts on suicide are described in a straightforward, matter of fact manner. She focuses more on the practicalities of her death, how and where it should be done, as opposed to the reasons why she would do it. Her calm outlook on the inevitability of her death suggests that she must do it simply because she sees no other way to escape her pain. As she is most rational when planning her suicide, her point of view is easily understood and her actions seem reasonable. While Esther is certainly mentally ill, she experiences moments of clarity in which she can address her own sadness. She describes her illness as a bell jar, a recurring metaphor for confinement, in that wherever she went, she would be “sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air” (Plath 207). Esther feels trapped within her own head, plagued by the same thoughts of insecurity and despondency over and over again. Following her suicide attempts, Esther is placed under the care of Dr. Nolan, a

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