A Deeper Analysis of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and its Modern Applications

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Written in 1961 and published in the United States a decade later, The Bell Jar written by Sylvia Plath has grown to be a classic part of American Literature found in high school and college classrooms and throughout popular culture. Having sold over two million copies since its publication (Dunkle), this novel chronicles “the timeless story of young woman’s struggle to pursue her own ambitions while negotiating the expectations of the conformative culture in which she was raised.”(Satterfield) Its success can be attributed to the ease young women have with relating to the themes present in this novel. Even though life is very different in the present day than it was back in the 1950s when this novel was set, the problems dealt with still ring unsolved in many young female hearts. By analyzing the text, one will find that women across modern time have grappled with finding a sense of identity, abiding by society’s expectations, and fulfilling their dreams.
Before diving into the novel itself, one must have a strong mental image of the mastermind behind this creation. Sylvia Plath was the first child of Aurelia and Otto Plath. Her father was 21 years her mother’s senior and an internationally recognized professor. He sadly passed away when Plath was only eight years old from undiagnosed diabetes which undoubtedly had an effect on young Plath’s childhood. Upon completing high school, Plath obtained a scholarship to study English at Smith College and it was here that her work was recognized by major magazines such as Seventeen and Mademoiselle. After graduation from Smith College as summa cum laude, she began working for Mademoiselle in Manhattan, New York. This is the point at which the novel begins to reflect her life. Sylvia Pla...

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