"The Bell Jar" Themes

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The themes in The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath, are portrayed through Esther’s unique characteristics. Sylvia’s life experiences and personality contribute to these themes: growth through pain, the emptiness of conventional expectations, and the restricted role of women during the 1950’s. Esther must battle through several obstacles in order to move on with her life. She also feels like she does not fit in with society. Women’s role in society during this time also contributes to Esther’s qualities. In order to understand the themes of the novel, one must learn who Sylvia Plath is. Sylvia Plath was born on October 27, 1932 in Boston. Some say that The Bell Jar is a semi- autobiographical novel because Esther and Sylvia share many of the same qualities. Both women attempted to become successful in America during the 1950’s. Petri Liukkonen states that,” Plath has… given a unique point of view to psychological disorder” (Liukkonen). This shows that Esther and Sylvia gave the reader a new perspective about psychological disorders. Also, both women struggled to understand the meaning of life. Sylvia and Esther believed that human existence serves no purpose. This causes both of them to resist human interaction and want to committee suicide. Understanding Sylvia Plath will increase one’s ability to connect the themes of the novel to Esther’s characteristics. Esther is the protagonist in The Bell Jar. The story is about how Esther slowly descents into a stage of madness, and her attempts to escape. Esther does not realize her place in civilization. She feels as if the odds are always stacked against her which pushes her away from her goals. Esther wants to become a successful writer, but is often neglected by her role in society. Esth... ... middle of paper ... ...th. It is easy to see that Sylvia can relate to Esther in several different ways. Sylvia also suffers from depression, and is seen in her story. Sylvia eventually committed suicide in real life, and many people believe The Bell Jar predicted this would happen. Esther’s character is so unique because Sylvia put all of her feelings into creating her. 10. Littell, McDougal. (2003). The Americans. United States: Rand McNally Co. This history book has a lot of information about the way women were treated in the 1950’s. This book contains actual facts and laws that occurred in real life. The Bell Jar takes place during this time period, which is why it is crucial to understand what this time was like. To understand the way real women were treated in the 1950’s the easier it will be to understand what Esther was going through and how it lead to her severe depression.
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