The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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Sylvia Plath Research Paper Title The Bell Jar "place[s] [the] turbulent months[of an adolescent’s life] in[to] mature perspective" (Hall, 30). In The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath uses parallelism, stream of consciousness, the motif of renewal and rebirth, symbolism of the boundary-driven entrapped mentally ill, and auto-biographical details to epitomize the mental downfall of protagonist, Esther Greenwood. Plath also explores the idea of how grave these timeless and poignant issues can affect a fragile, aspiring woman during an unforgiving period for women. Sylvia Plath discretely places many similarities between herself and Greenwood, displaying a sense of verisimilitude and depicting a true-life experience of mental illness in her…show more content…
The Bell Jar traps Esther “stewing in her own sour air” (Plath, 185). Esther is and forever will be an outcast; the bell jar symbolizes the physical separation between her and society. Esther emotionally cannot cope “harmoniously” with societal norms (Infobase, 12). Her repulsion of others causes her to prefer to live a life seclusion. This glass barrier suffocates Esther causing her own madness to ensue. Jars, specifically the bell jar, are clear. This allows society to peer through and scrutinize Esther and her every flaw. Esther entrapped herself in a toxic environment which, to her, seems almost impossible to escape. Once Esther escapes the bell jar, it remains “suspended”, only “a few feet above [her] head”, contributing an imminent thought of relapse (Plath 215). Esther undergoes shock therapy in an effort to magically cure her; Esther begins emerging from an enlightened womb. Esther’s renewal parallels that of a newborn infant; this common literary motif of transforming into the unknown for the better pinpoints Esther during her troubled hours. After a turbulent period of questionable shock treatments, Esther seems to have entered a “cured state” (Smith Bundzten, 35). Esther is, in a sense, reborn again. She is “born twice--patched, retreaded, and approved for the road” (Plath, 244). Her experiences have allowed to become stronger and gain stability

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