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 writing. This essential connection between Plath and Greenwood allows the reader to gain a keen understanding of the author’s state of mind. The parallelism displayed in The Bell Jar proves the novel to be “autobiographical” in a sense (Hall, 30). Sylvia Plath’s early adolescent years are told through the fictional scope of Esther Greenwood’s. Both Sylvia and Esther interned at a hip magazine company during college, where their depression took its roots. Both had fathers who died early in their lives, leaving permanent scars and an absence of a paternal caring figure. Esther regards her father’s death as “unreal”, refusing to even shed a tear at his funeral (Plath, 165). Plath places a symbol of herself within Esther; this symbol portrays her own hardships allowing the reader to read true emotions and happenings, verisimilitude. Similar to Esther’s obsession with false personalities, Plath does not publish The Bell Jar as an autobiography but rather as a work of fiction. She publishes her novel under a ...
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... of renewal and rebirth, symbolism of the boundary-driven entrapped mentally ill, and auto-biographical details encapsulate Esther’s breakdown and journey back to normalcy. Bell Jar employs many different tactics of exploring a young, struggling girl’s journey through hell and back again in attempt to find inner peace.
Alienation. New York: Infobase, 2009. Print.
Hall, Caroline King Barnard. Sylvia Plath, Revised. Ed. Joseph M. Flora. New York: Twayne, 1998. Print. Twayne’s United States Authors 702.
McCann, Janet. “On the Bell Jar.” Critical Insights: The Bell Jar: 3-21. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.
Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. 25th Anniversary ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1998. Print.
Smith, Stan, and Lynda K. Bundtzen. Sylvia Plath. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea, 1989. Print.
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