The Bell Jar Analysis

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Even from a very young age, children and people alike are encouraged to have an idea for a plan for their lives. Often times what an individual chooses has a major impact on that person’s physical life as well as he or she’s emotional stability. In the Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath, using the characterization of Esther and her mother, exposes the how women during the 1950s can often spiral into depression as a result of the harsh expectations that encompass them.
Throughout history women have had the unfortunate consequence of being defined by the roles men set out for them. As society evolved, so did the freedom of women to do as they pleased. Esther Greenwood is determined to set her own path based upon what she wants. The problem with this for …show more content…

The firework represents so many options and different life choices, and Esther wants to take them all. The motherly figure that culture placed upon her as an expectation won't allow her fuse to be lit. Plath develops Esther’s character in such a way that the reader sees the her lose that battle within herself. Employing the direct thoughts Esther gives us about herself, and imagery used to describe all of her options, Plath delivers a message about the community and nation that not only did Esther suffered through, but Plath did as …show more content…

Greenwood represents the typical notion of what a woman should be and how she should act. Mrs. Greenwood is an example of everything Esther did not want to be. The reader is able to see Esther’s resentment fairly early in the book when Esther says that, “My own mother wasn't much help...She was always on to me to learn shorthand after college, so I'd have a practical skill as well as a college degree” (Plath 43). Mrs. Greenwood constantly encourages Esther to learn shorthand because it is one of the jobs women are expected to do during the time period. Esther would much rather be a journalist or a poet, but that did not fit the mold for what Mrs. Greenwood deemed acceptable. The relationship between a mother, who believes she knows best, and a daughter, who is attempting to find her own way, brilliantly portrays the tension and awkwardness of the time. What makes the situation so upsetting, is that Mrs. Greenwood is unaware of the consequences her “encouragements” are having on her daughter. This is not all her fault of course, because these roles and expectations are all she has ever known as well. Mrs. Greenwood’s definition of normal is based on what others have always told her. Esther’s mother sees normalcy as a choice, something that can be turned off and on. Even beyond that, she has narrowed the idea of normal to a vary narrow mindset. At one point, as her and Esther are

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