Analysis Of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

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Sylvia Plath’s autobiography, The Bell Jar, recalls the events of her own mental breakdown and suicide attempt, as well as her restoration and return into the outside world. In so many ways, Plath’s novel is centered around the struggles of a young woman who cannot reach her goals in a male dominated society. In Sylvia Plath’s novel, The Bell Jar, the author utilizes figurative language and concrete examples to explore the traditional gender roles of being a woman in the 1950s.
The people familiar with Esther, do not welcome her capability to write poems and novels, but rather try to push her into more traditional female roles. "When I tried to picture myself in some job, briskly jotting down line after line of shorthand, my mind went blank"
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After Esther’s breakdown she tries to commit suicide numerous times. Esther tries to commit suicide at least three times before receiving proper help. First, Esther tries to take her life by drowning herself. Esther believes that if she swims a great distance in the ocean, she will not have enough energy to swim back to shore, drowning herself. This attempt failed. Esther also tries to commit suicide by hanging herself, which again fails. After Esther’s continual discussions about suicide and depression, and suicide attempts, she meets psychiatrist, Dr. Gordon. Throughout the novel it is clear that Esther is not mentally well, however it is inferred that society’s repressions for females contributes to her collapse. The suicidal thoughts throughout many parts of the novel reveals Esther’s mental instability. Esther is very hostile toward Doctor Gordon, and loaths him the minute she walks into his office. Esther hates him because she believes he is perfect with photos set up in his office of his wife and children. Esther thinks, "How could this Doctor help me anyway, with a beautiful wife and beautiful children and a beautiful dog haloing him like the angels on a Christmas card?" (Plath 106). Doctor Gordon talks to Esther as though nothing in her life is really wrong, only she thinks something is wrong. Doctor Gordon is so condescending and arrogant to speak to Esther this way.…show more content…
The title of the novel represents the feminist undertones of the life story. The plotlines of countless stories consist of, female characters being reduced to obstacles or prizes the male protagonist has to obtain or manage. Women are knocked down to the status of objects, while men are characters who are actually important. The title, The Bell Jar, suggests that like a object, women in the 1950’s are looked at through “a bell jar”, where they are seen as objects that belong to men. This role that women are placed in is dehumanizing. The title can also serve as a symbol of women’s roles in the 1950s. The word "Bell" written as “Belle” portrays a woman in American culture who is pleased to be a desired object of her husband. A woman of the 1950’s, as the "Belle" is supposed to be content in the "housewife" role that is socially constructed and imposed. Sylvia Plath utilizes her own values, and personal life events into the autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar. Her viewpoint is clearly illustrated within the literary novel through the feminist lens that approaches aspects of inequality based on gender, and the custom beliefs of women in the 1950’s. Sylvia Plath took her own life not even two years before the start of the women 's movement. Although Plath has not been physically involved in women’s movement, her
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