The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath Essay

The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath Essay

Length: 704 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar (1971) is a thinly veiled autobiography. Having been riddled by depression herself, Plath has us follow her protagonist Esther’s journey of self-discovery in order to assert her views on the intersection of mental illness and traditional femininity. In the novel, blood serves to mark transitions in Esther’s life. Time after time, blood intersects with largely feminine milestones and the shifts in her mental health as she witnesses births, is sexually exploited, and must confront her own sexuality. Esther struggles to fit in to the narrow feminine role and views the world through a predisposition for depressive thoughts. The “traditional” era in which she exists enforces very binary gender roles and places her purity under a strict microscope. Under the suffocating bell jar of conventional womanhood, Esther breaks and must rebuild herself in the most fundamentally feminine way – ritual bleeding.
Blood first appears in the novel as Esther accompanies Buddy to watch a woman in labor. The woman is given an episiotomy and begins to bleed heavily, and so the c...

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath Essay

- The Bell Jar, written by Sylvia Plath, starts of in the summer of the mid-1950s. Esther Greenwood, the main character, is a 19 year full of ambition and creativity that works at a popular magazine company. Esther mainly has two “best friends”, Betsy and Doreen. Having a pretty decent life in New York she feels as though she is missing something and that she isn’t experiencing life as some of the other ladies her age are. Esther is faced with the thought of not being what she should be. Which is, what the other women of her age are expected to be, by society’s views....   [tags: The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath]

Better Essays
1641 words (4.7 pages)

The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath Essay

- Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is a fascinating account of a young woman’s spiral downward into a bout of “madness” and depression. The Bell Jar was published in England in early 1963, just a few weeks before Plath committed suicide. Sylvia Plath was an American poet, born and raised in Massachusetts, who later lived in England, where she married British poet Ted Hughes and had 2 children. While her poetry collections are highly celebrated, her only novel has reached the status of a modern classic, perhaps due to Plath’s tragic death at the age of 30....   [tags: Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Mind, Suicide]

Better Essays
1142 words (3.3 pages)

The Bell Jar After By Sylvia Plath Essay example

- Artistic works, including books, tend to reflect their creator. Sylvia Plath authored The Bell Jar shortly before committing suicide. A semi-autobiographical work, many real events became included with names and places changed, though thinly veiled to those who knew her. Published after her death amidst much controversy, the novel follows Esther Greenwood through her depression, suicide attempt, and struggle to recover. While many factual physical events appear in the book, clearly other internal factors affecting Ms....   [tags: Sylvia Plath, Suicide, The Bell Jar]

Better Essays
1251 words (3.6 pages)

The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath Essay

- Life is full of endless amounts of beautiful encounters for every character in the novel The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, except for Esther. She suffers from a severe and complex mental illness that impacts her life greatly. Although it is clear that Esther suffers strongly from depression in the novel, Sylvia Plath chooses to tell her life abstractly through countless symbols and ironies to prove that Esther depression completely consumes her. Everything that Esther sees is through a lens of depression, which scews her outlook on life....   [tags: The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath, Roman à clef]

Better Essays
1229 words (3.5 pages)

Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Essay

- Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Depression and suicide are commonly discussed in today’s society; however, in the 1950s, incidents such as suicidal feelings were not mentioned due to being deemed too risqué. Sylvia Plath is well-known for her poetry, yet her prose is equally as noteworthy. According to Frances McCullough, The Bell Jar is a “pre-drugs, pre-Pill, pre-Women’s Studies” (Plath xiii) novel, which focuses on weighty issues which were not typically discussed during the time period. The semiautobiographical novel deals with depression and suicide, as well as a search for one’s identity, feminism, and rebirth....   [tags: Sylvia Plath Bell Jar Essays Depression]

Better Essays
1377 words (3.9 pages)

A Comparison of Joan Gilling and Esther Greenwoods in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

- A Comparison of Joan Gilling and Esther Greenwoods in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Have you ever heard of the term “doppelgănger”. If not, it means “double” in German. To say that the character, Joan Gilling, is Esther Greenwoods “double” in the novel “The Bell Jar”, by Sylvia Plath, would be an understatement. Esther and Joan are one in the same. Joan and Esther endure many of the same obstacles throughout the novel. Joan’s actions to these struggles ultimately make Esther come to terms with reality....   [tags: Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Character Comparison]

Better Essays
1217 words (3.5 pages)

Analysis of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Essay

- “Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” ( http://thinkexist.com/quotes/sylvia_plath/) The Bell Jar is a very complicated book that deals with very complex issues. There are numerous ways this book can be examined this paper will focus on analysis through the use of theories. There are a plethora of different theories that could be utilized to dissect this book this paper will focus on five. The first theory to be discussed is structuralism, this theory is composed of many different branches....   [tags: Sylvia Plath]

Better Essays
2556 words (7.3 pages)

Esther Greenwood in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Essay

- Sylvia Plath wrote the semi autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, in which the main character, Esther, struggles with depression as she attempts to make herself known as a writer in the 1950’s. She is getting the opportunity to apprentice under a well-known fashion magazine editor, but still cannot find true happiness. She crumbles under her depression due to feeling that she doesn’t fit in, and eventually ends up being put into a mental hospital undergoing electroshock therapy. Still, she describes the depth of her depression as “Wherever I sat - on the deck of a ship or at a street a cafe in Paris or Bangkok - I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air” (P...   [tags: the bell jar, syvia plath]

Better Essays
945 words (2.7 pages)

Weaknesses of Esther and Plath Exposed in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Essay examples

- Weaknesses of Esther and Plath Exposed in The Bell Jar      The glass of which a bell jar is constructed is thick and suffocating, intending to preserve its ornamental contents but instead traps in it stale air.  The thickness of the bell jar glass prevents the prisoner from clearly seeing through distortion.  Sylvia Plath writes with extreme conviction, as The Bell Jar is essentially her autobiography.  The fitting title symbolizes not only her suffocation and mental illness, but also the internal struggle of Plath's alter ego and novel protagonist Esther Greenwood.  The novel illustrates the theme confinement by highlighting the weaknesses of both Esther and Plath....   [tags: Plath Bell Jar Essays]

Better Essays
1187 words (3.4 pages)

Essay about Esther's Liberation in Sylvia Plath's Bell Jar

- Esther's Liberation in The Bell Jar      On the surface The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is a loosely based autobiographical account of a young woman's search for identity that is eventually found through mental breakdown. Because Esther Greenwood's aspirations are smothered by traditional female roles, she must find herself through purging her mind of these restraints.   Upon closer inspection, Esther plight is representative of her contemporaries and even of many women today who "over and over...(have) heard in voices of tradition and of Freudian sophistication that they could desire no greater destiny than to glory in their own femininity" (Friedan, 461)....   [tags: Plath Bell Jar Essays]

Free Essays
1436 words (4.1 pages)