The Characterisation of the Heroines in The Bell Jar and Quicksand Essay

The Characterisation of the Heroines in The Bell Jar and Quicksand Essay

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How does the author's treatment of relationships effect the characterisation
of the heroines in The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Quicksand by Nella
Larsen?

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know
==============================

How does the author's treatment of relationships effect the
characterisation of the heroines in "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath and
"Quicksand" by Nella Larsen?
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This essay will compare the ways in which the novels "The Bell Jar" by
Sylvia Plath and "Quicksand" by Nella Larsen deal with relationships,
paying particular attention to how this aids the characterisation of
Esther Greenwood and Helga Crane, the central characters respectively.
It will explore their relationships with other characters in the
novel, especially how the authors use relationships to fulfil their
writing aims. It will also discuss the relationship between the
protagonist and the reader, and how successfully this is achieved
through the novel's language. Finally, it will attempt to compare the
ways in which they relate to the world around them, which is
particularly fascinating as although both novels could pass as
fiction, they are largely autobiographical, raising the question of
why the author's chose to tell their own life stories in this
relatively detached way.

The relationship between the reader and the central character is
directly affected by the style of the narration, and is fundamental in
understanding the author's intentions. "The Bell Jar" is written in
the first person, providing the reader with intimate access to
Esther's every feeling, using past tense and speaking in a reflective,
conversational tone. Although "Quicksand" ...


... middle of paper ...


...oo can be said of "Quicksand", although the effect
on the reader is perhaps not as definitive, as the character is
arguably less rounded, less developed and less realistic as she we do
not delve as deeply into her psyche as we do that of Esther
Greenwood's.

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[1] Plath, Sylvia, The Bell Jar, William Heinemann Limited, 1966, p230

[2] Plath, Sylvia, The Bell Jar, William Heinemann Limited, 1966, p93

[3] Plath, Sylvia, The Bell Jar, William Heinemann Limited, 1966, p93

[4] Plath, Sylvia, The Bell Jar, William Heinemann Limited, 1966, p1-2

[5] Plath, Sylvia, The Bell Jar, William Heinemann Limited, 1966, p76

[6] Larsen, Nella, Quicksand, 1928, Alfred A. Knopf, p8

[7] Larsen, Nella, Quicksand, 1928, Alfred A. Knopf, p43

[8] Larsen, Nella, Quicksand, 1928, Alfred A. Knopf, p64

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