In Plath’s The Bell Jar, imagery is used to show the contrast between Esther’s internal self and the external society. The bell jar, that slowly descending over her, is a symbol for the growing isolation Esther feels as her depression worsens throughout the novel and also the alienation she receives as a result of a societal stigma associated with mental illnesses such as depression. Within the first half of the novel, there are many dark images, such as the dead babies in jars and the cadaver, that represent the decline of her psychological state and foreshadows Esther’s suicide attempt later in the novel. When Esther throws her clothes off the roof of the hotel, this represents her liberation, in a sense that they no longer matter to her, from the societal expectations of young women during 1950’s. Doreen represents societal ideals of women during this time. The descending bell jar also represents the tremendous pressures of society that confine Esther and she her tossing of her clothes represents her surrender to the immanent confinement of society and her depression, allowing to totally engulf her. When she has sexual relations with Irwin and then afterwards rejects him she symbolized her freedom and resistance of the male dominant society.
The Catcher in the Rye also has deeply rooted symbolism. Holden tells Stradlater to ask Jane “‘…if she still keeps all her kings in ...
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...disappoints Holden. Salinger felt very similar, refusing to sell his works to Hollywood. This may have been because Salinger had a deep and personal connection to his characters to the point where he thought they were a part of him, like a real family. The idea of selling these characters, these pieces of himself, were devastating to Salinger (Salerno).
While both character’s struggle with the transition into adulthood, Holden is resisting the pressures while Esther is embracing the idea. Plath’s metaphorical use of the fig tree shows Esther’s open mindedness of adulthood, while Holden’s desire to save the children from falling off the cliff shows his deep desire to prevent adulthood. The use imagery and metaphors to symbolize the characters’ similar feeling of alienation and they both maintain an inability to cope with the transition from childhood into adulthood.
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- The Bell Jar, written by Sylvia Plath, starts of in the summer of the mid-1950s. Esther Greenwood, the main character, is a 19 year full of ambition and creativity that works at a popular magazine company. Esther mainly has two “best friends”, Betsy and Doreen. Having a pretty decent life in New York she feels as though she is missing something and that she isn’t experiencing life as some of the other ladies her age are. Esther is faced with the thought of not being what she should be. Which is, what the other women of her age are expected to be, by society’s views.... [tags: The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath]
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