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Adolescence in the Bell Jar and Catcher in the Rye Essay

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Adolescence in the Bell Jar and Catcher in the Rye

Adolescence is the period between puberty and adulthood. Every
teenager experience this moment in life differently some sail through
happily to carry on with a peaceful life where as others are less
fortunate and find that this moment is much more harder and stressful
then they thought. Esther Greenwood and Holden Caulfield are one of
the less fortunate and have bad experiences through their adolescent.
Salinger and Plath present this in their novels Catcher in the Rye and
The Bell Jar. Both novelists use first person narrative giving us as
readers a more personal description about their story, involving us
more into their lives and letting us travel with them on their pathway
through adolescent. The tone, dictation and the use of grammar are
consistently those of an adolescent person and express distinctive
commentary on how they feel and what they observe everyday.

Salinger and Plath present the different elements of adolescence that
teenagers experience such as depression, grief, pressure, sexuality
etc through their characters Holden and Esther.

Throughout adolescence teenagers experience a variety of pressures
from their family, friends and even the society. Holden and Esther
both come from adequate families who brought them up well although
this can also mean living up to their expectations. Esther lives up to
different expectations than Holden. Esther’s background was less
promising than others, her mother could not provide her with a good
education it was down the Esther to work really hard at studying to
gain scholarships she places huge pressure on herself to achieve these
goals that she doesn’t know anything else “ I had been inadequate a...


... middle of paper ...


...and doesn’t bother to
help him. This mirrors with Esther’s feeling, that people are not
responding to her properly even her own mother who doesn’t believe
that the depression is a true illness but just a passing perversity or
rebellion. Even her own Doctor fails to help her by showing that he
wasn’t really listening to what Esther had to say about her illness by
repeating a question to Esther. Throughout the novel Esther is very
direct about her depression “I haven’t slept for 14 days” yet no one
chooses to listen to hear but when she tells them “ I feel better, I
don’t want to go to the doctors” her mum suddenly listens replying “ I
knew my baby wasn’t like that” Plath shows that people don’t want to
hear anything depressing or morbid unless it directly involves them
but if it doesn’t they don’t want to know they only listen to what
they want to hear.


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