Essay on The, The And The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath

Essay on The, The And The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath

Length: 1289 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In both J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, symbolism is used through the employment of imagery and metaphors. These are utilized to convey universal themes, such as alienation, pressures of conventional expectations, and sexuality. Symbolism is also utilized to portray significant and meaningful messages to the audience.
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 ...


... middle of paper ...


...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.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath Essay

- 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]

Better Essays
1641 words (4.7 pages)

The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath Essay

- Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is a fascinating account of a young woman’s spiral downward into a bout of “madness” and depression. The Bell Jar was published in England in early 1963, just a few weeks before Plath committed suicide. Sylvia Plath was an American poet, born and raised in Massachusetts, who later lived in England, where she married British poet Ted Hughes and had 2 children. While her poetry collections are highly celebrated, her only novel has reached the status of a modern classic, perhaps due to Plath’s tragic death at the age of 30....   [tags: Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Mind, Suicide]

Better Essays
1142 words (3.3 pages)

The Bell Jar After By Sylvia Plath Essay example

- Artistic works, including books, tend to reflect their creator. Sylvia Plath authored The Bell Jar shortly before committing suicide. A semi-autobiographical work, many real events became included with names and places changed, though thinly veiled to those who knew her. Published after her death amidst much controversy, the novel follows Esther Greenwood through her depression, suicide attempt, and struggle to recover. While many factual physical events appear in the book, clearly other internal factors affecting Ms....   [tags: Sylvia Plath, Suicide, The Bell Jar]

Better Essays
1251 words (3.6 pages)

The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath Essay

- Life is full of endless amounts of beautiful encounters for every character in the novel The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, except for Esther. She suffers from a severe and complex mental illness that impacts her life greatly. Although it is clear that Esther suffers strongly from depression in the novel, Sylvia Plath chooses to tell her life abstractly through countless symbols and ironies to prove that Esther depression completely consumes her. Everything that Esther sees is through a lens of depression, which scews her outlook on life....   [tags: The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath, Roman à clef]

Better Essays
1229 words (3.5 pages)

Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Essay

- Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Depression and suicide are commonly discussed in today’s society; however, in the 1950s, incidents such as suicidal feelings were not mentioned due to being deemed too risqué. Sylvia Plath is well-known for her poetry, yet her prose is equally as noteworthy. According to Frances McCullough, The Bell Jar is a “pre-drugs, pre-Pill, pre-Women’s Studies” (Plath xiii) novel, which focuses on weighty issues which were not typically discussed during the time period. The semiautobiographical novel deals with depression and suicide, as well as a search for one’s identity, feminism, and rebirth....   [tags: Sylvia Plath Bell Jar Essays Depression]

Better Essays
1377 words (3.9 pages)

A Comparison of Joan Gilling and Esther Greenwoods in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

- A Comparison of Joan Gilling and Esther Greenwoods in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Have you ever heard of the term “doppelgănger”. If not, it means “double” in German. To say that the character, Joan Gilling, is Esther Greenwoods “double” in the novel “The Bell Jar”, by Sylvia Plath, would be an understatement. Esther and Joan are one in the same. Joan and Esther endure many of the same obstacles throughout the novel. Joan’s actions to these struggles ultimately make Esther come to terms with reality....   [tags: Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Character Comparison]

Better Essays
1217 words (3.5 pages)

Analysis of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Essay

- “Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” ( http://thinkexist.com/quotes/sylvia_plath/) The Bell Jar is a very complicated book that deals with very complex issues. There are numerous ways this book can be examined this paper will focus on analysis through the use of theories. There are a plethora of different theories that could be utilized to dissect this book this paper will focus on five. The first theory to be discussed is structuralism, this theory is composed of many different branches....   [tags: Sylvia Plath]

Better Essays
2556 words (7.3 pages)

Esther Greenwood in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Essay

- Sylvia Plath wrote the semi autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, in which the main character, Esther, struggles with depression as she attempts to make herself known as a writer in the 1950’s. She is getting the opportunity to apprentice under a well-known fashion magazine editor, but still cannot find true happiness. She crumbles under her depression due to feeling that she doesn’t fit in, and eventually ends up being put into a mental hospital undergoing electroshock therapy. Still, she describes the depth of her depression as “Wherever I sat - on the deck of a ship or at a street a cafe in Paris or Bangkok - I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air” (P...   [tags: the bell jar, syvia plath]

Better Essays
945 words (2.7 pages)

Weaknesses of Esther and Plath Exposed in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Essay examples

- Weaknesses of Esther and Plath Exposed in The Bell Jar      The glass of which a bell jar is constructed is thick and suffocating, intending to preserve its ornamental contents but instead traps in it stale air.  The thickness of the bell jar glass prevents the prisoner from clearly seeing through distortion.  Sylvia Plath writes with extreme conviction, as The Bell Jar is essentially her autobiography.  The fitting title symbolizes not only her suffocation and mental illness, but also the internal struggle of Plath's alter ego and novel protagonist Esther Greenwood.  The novel illustrates the theme confinement by highlighting the weaknesses of both Esther and Plath....   [tags: Plath Bell Jar Essays]

Better Essays
1187 words (3.4 pages)

Essay about Esther's Liberation in Sylvia Plath's Bell Jar

- Esther's Liberation in The Bell Jar      On the surface The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is a loosely based autobiographical account of a young woman's search for identity that is eventually found through mental breakdown. Because Esther Greenwood's aspirations are smothered by traditional female roles, she must find herself through purging her mind of these restraints.   Upon closer inspection, Esther plight is representative of her contemporaries and even of many women today who "over and over...(have) heard in voices of tradition and of Freudian sophistication that they could desire no greater destiny than to glory in their own femininity" (Friedan, 461)....   [tags: Plath Bell Jar Essays]

Free Essays
1436 words (4.1 pages)