Patriarchy In The Bell Jar

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Living in a Bell Jar: The Confinement of the Female Voice in Plath’s “The Bell Jar” written by Ashley Kress tells of the reflection of gender roles in The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Kress talks about how feminist criticism talks about how it challenges the patriarchy in culture and literature. She talks about how The Bell Jar was a window to for Plath to show women that they can break away from the 1950’s type patriarchy just like Esther Greenwood. Two of Kress’ main topics is that how The Bell Jar is written to help women fight the patriarchy and to say that patriarchy wasn’t responsible for Esther’s downfall, but it was Esther’s illness. Kress states that “Plath uses Esther’s illness as the reason for her instability: not men, society, or …show more content…

All The Bell Jar was trying to say was that society is wrong and needs to change it’s ways. We know that The Bell Jar was basically an autobiography to Plath’s life, so Esther Greenwood was very similar to Plath. Esther just like Plath dreamt about being a writer, when most women at that time were told they can only be secretaries. This is one of the first times we see them go against what society says. Esther the opposite to the normal girl in the 50’s, she didn’t want to get married and have kids, she wanted to have more choices in life. Kress says that Esther felt no control in her life and that was because she was confined to her choices by society. Esther aimed to live her life they way she wanted it, whether it went against the norm or not, but she was held back by her illness. It is hoped that the book lead girls to think more highly of themselves, and to not think of themselves like Esther did. “What I always thought I had in mind was getting some big scholarship to graduate school or a grant to study all over Europe, and then I thought I'd be a professor and write books of poems or write books of poems and be an editor of some sort.” (Plath 26-27) Esther had always wanted to teach and write, but the way society’s norms controlled and overtook her mental stability, Esther didn’t know what she wanted

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