preview

The Impact Of Suicide In The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath

Good Essays
Throughout history, suicide has been a highly controversial subject, and is considered taboo in society, even in the present-day. According to Stats Canada, suicide rates have been increasing substantially over the years. “Deaths by suicide, it should be noted, reflect only a small percentage of suicide attempts. It is estimated that for every completed suicide there are as many as 20 attempts. Although males are more likely to die from suicide, females are three to four times more likely to attempt it.” (1) Despite these facts, suicide is a topic that is avoided, which has caused it to be a popular topic for stigmatization. The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath, covers the journey of Esther Greenwood, a survivor of a suicide attempt, and her struggles…show more content…
Esther begins to feel the impact of rejection on her mental health when she is denied access to a writing course, which she had planned over a long duration. This takes a toll on her self-esteem and leads her to believe that she is not qualified to become a writer. Esther begins to doubt her experiences and feels that she lacks experience and that is the reason she is rejected from the writing course. To overcome her loss, Esther chooses to meet with Doctor Gordon, a psychiatrist. Doctor Gordon’s lack of care and attention leaves a negative impact on Esther’s mental health causing her to withdraw. She is exposed to electric shock for the first time, which proves to be detrimental for her mental well-being. She comes to believe that she is unlike the others, forcing her to further retreat into her “bell jar,” which works in isolating her from the outside world. At this point, Esther’s suicidal thoughts were reversible, however due to the lack of care from the professional health workers, Esther continues with her suicide attempt. Moving on, after Esther’s attempt to commit suicide she is taken to the hospital in which the hospital nurses cause her to further isolate herself from others. The nurses reinforce the stigma associated with suicide in emphasizing that Esther is violent and her emotions are out of control. In another situation, Esther’s fellow patient ignores her,…show more content…
She forces her family and friends away from her. Esther’s mother proves to have a negative effect on Esther’s well-being. In the beginning, Esther’s mother faces denial and refuses to acknowledge that Esther has a problem. When Esther refuses to come to Doctor Gordon’s shock treatments, Esther’s mother response is “I knew my baby wasn’t like that. Like those awful people. Those awful dead people at the hospital. I knew you’d decide to be all right again” (Plath 219). The context in which this is said, creates the impression that Esther’s mother believes that Esther has control over everything that she is going through. She believes that Esther could choose to be normal if she would like to. Moreover, the nurturing and care that her mom provides is conflictive to what Esther needs. Esther’s mom begins to treat her like an infant and tracks her every move, however that does not resolve any of the root causes that lead up to Esther’s attempted suicide. For these reasons, Esther begins to resent her mother. Further, Buddy’s comments on Esther’s state at the hospital reinforce the fact that she is not normal. He goes on to state that no one will marry Esther because she is defective since she has attempted suicide. “I wonder who you’ll marry now, Esther. Now you’ve been, here” (358). In another instance, Buddy question himself and his role in Esther’s attempted suicide. “Do you think there’s
Get Access