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Theme Of Rain In The Bell Jar

Decent Essays
In The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, there are many instances where water, in different forms, has appeared as a symbol as described with How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster. Foster’s portrayal of baptism and the sense that main characters cannot die so early in the novel that he shows the reader throughout numerous parts of his book helps the reader figure out how much water is affecting Esther’s everyday life and actions. Water, whether it may be the rain, seemingly wet hair, or the sea, symbolizes baptism and rebirth, and helps show the fact that she cannot die, as much as she may want to in certain points in the novel. First off, rain is popularly seen as a clear symbol of this, not only because it is…show more content…
It made [her] tired just thinking about it” (Plath 128). Here, Esther tells the reader that she believed having to continuously wash her hair everyday seems silly, and it becomes a boring action for her. This is due to all of the suicidal thoughts she continues to have, and they cause her to be less innocent and pure because she now knows about the world and its flaws. Her mental illness which continues to give her recurring thoughts about death not only show the reader how much many little things affect her life as a whole, but it shows how severe mental illnesses can get, especially without help. All together, the cleanliness that Esther gives off most of the time helps show how the rain, and water in general, has affected her as a person, both inside and out. Second, rebirth similarly affects Esther through water. Foster states, “so when writers baptize a character they mean death, rebirth, new identity? Generally, yes...symbolic rebirth is the point of the sacrament of baptism” (167). Here, he clearly demonstrates that rebirth and baptism are closely related. When Esther attempts to kill herself, she states that her “flesh winced, in cowardice, from such a death” (Plath 153). This shows how as much as she wants to kill herself in that moment, even her own body realizes
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