Circumstances that Exacerbated Esther's Mental Illness

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Sylvia Plath is the author of the Bell Jar and was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer (JRSM. June, 2003). The Bell Jar book was published in London a month before Plath’s death in January, 1963. The book was first published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas, and then later published in Plath’s own name. Esther Greenwood is the main character in the Bell Jar. Esther suffered from mental illness and struggled against depressive environment and continuously aggravated madness that led to her suicide and death (JRSM. June, 2003). I ague that Esther’s mental illness was aggravated by her internal pressure and depressive environment in which she lived.

The first internal pressure that factored in triggering Esther’s madness is the death of her father and the hate for her mother. Esther lost her father when she was 8 years old and she was raised by her mother. According to the book, Esther never came to term with her father’s death and continued to be grieved. Therefore, Esther was affected mentally with her lost as seen in her poetry “Daddy”, “I used to pray to recover you”. She kept longing for a male figure who could replace her father. Also, poor relationship between Esther and her mother added to triggering her madness. Esther hated her mother and requested not to visit with her when hospitalized with mental illness. Furthermore, she complained about her mother questioning the progress of her illness. For example, “she never scolded me, but kept begging me, with a sorrowful face, to tell her what she had done wrong” (Plath, p.202). However, Mrs. Greenwood loved Esther even though she was aware of her request not to visit. Esther showed mental instability when Mrs. Greenwood delivered roses for her birthday. ...

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...ich she lived such as societal, identity crisis, sex, female role, and so forth. Esther’s role in the book was written clearly that can be envisioned and perceived well as Plath herself. Her being in the bell jar was her way of expressing how she felt trap and a feeling of being isolated in her mental illness. Reading this book was challenge to me as it feels too depressing and difficult to relate to.

Works Cited

Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. New York: Harper Perennial, 2005. Print.

Jay, Meg. The defining Decade: Why your twenties matter and how to make the most of them now. New York: The Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group, April 2013. Print.

Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (JRSM). Sylvia Plath and the depression continuum, J R Soc Med. Jun 2003; 96(6): 296–301. PMCID: PMC539515.
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