Bell Jar summary

Bell Jar summary

Length: 894 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Bell Jar summary

Many have paralleled Sylvia Plath’s novel, The Bell Jar, to her very own life. Plath is known for her tormented life of constant depression and disappointments, causing her to end her life early at the young age of 30. The time frame in which the book is in matches the times when she is enlisted in many mental institutes and ultimately her suicide. The story of Esther Greenwood also tells the feelings and emotions of Sylvia Plath. Other characters in the novel are said to be in relation to characters in the author’s life.

The novel begins where Esther is just about halfway through her job as Mademoiselle, a fashion magazine. She and many other girls received this opportunity because of their exceptional writing abilities. Even though this she had waited for this chance for a year, she is actually disappointed because she had expected more from the other prizewinners. “These girls looked awfully bored to me. I saw them on the roof yawning and painting their nails and trying to keep their Bermuda tans, and they seemed bored as hell... Girls like that make me sick.” (Pg. 4) A couple other unfortunate events also led her to be depressed at her stay in the hotel. At a dinner gathering, Esther ate a lot of crabmeat that happened to be poisoned. She passes out and awakes in her room. Her recovery is slow and agonizing. Another social event causes yet again another mishap. Doreen, Esther best friend there, sets Esther up with a friend of Doreen’s boyfriend to go to a party. There, the blind date attempts to sexually assault, but Esther resists and walks away with her dignity. After returning to the hotel, Esther takes no care of the assault and just carries on. Later, she finds out that her on and off boyfriend, Buddy Willard, is actually not a virgin. “At first I thought he must have slept with the waitress only that once, but when I asked how many times, just to make sure, he said he couldn’t remember but a couple of times a week for the rest for the summer.” Knowing this, she thought it to be okay if she were to have an affair also. On a date with Constantin, he invites her to his room, but to her dismay, nothing happens.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Bell Jar summary." 24 Feb 2020

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Bell Jar summary Essay

- Bell Jar summary Many have paralleled Sylvia Plath’s novel, The Bell Jar, to her very own life. Plath is known for her tormented life of constant depression and disappointments, causing her to end her life early at the young age of 30. The time frame in which the book is in matches the times when she is enlisted in many mental institutes and ultimately her suicide. The story of Esther Greenwood also tells the feelings and emotions of Sylvia Plath. Other characters in the novel are said to be in relation to characters in the author’s life....   [tags: essays papers]

Free Essays
894 words (2.6 pages)

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]

Research Papers
1641 words (4.7 pages)

The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath Essay

- As one of the most renowned and well-known literary critics in the world of composition, Harold Bloom has self-importantly granted himself the privilege of specifying the reasons as to why we read. From human connection to self-actualization to the acquirement of knowledge, he adheres passionately and unquestionably that “the strongest, most authentic motive for deep reading…is the search for a difficult pleasure.” Bloom, as an experienced critic, fully recognizes the task of judging a book for its merit....   [tags: Analysis of The Bell Jar]

Research Papers
1303 words (3.7 pages)

Annotated Bibliography : The Bell Jar Essay

- Annotated Bibliography: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath Behrent, Megan. "Trapped in The Bell Jar." 25 Mar. 2013: Web. 26 Oct. 2015. . Behrent thoroughly explains how The Bell Jar has remained relevant throughout the fifty years since its publication and how relatable The Bell Jar is for young women. Society’s prejudice towards women and the mistreatment of psychological illnesses are aspects that still haunt society today. One example that Behrent identifies is how numerous women resonate with the situation of when Esther had to get fitted for a diaphragm....   [tags: The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath, Mademoiselle]

Research Papers
704 words (2 pages)

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

- 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 assoc...   [tags: Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Symbolism]

Research Papers
1289 words (3.7 pages)

Essay Role of Food in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar

- The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is rich with an array of motifs, all which serve to sustain the novel’s primary themes. A motif particularly prevalent within the first half of the novel involves food, specifically Esther Greenwood’s relationship with food. This peculiar relationship corroborates the book’s themes of Esther’s continuous rebirthing rituals, and of her extreme dissatisfaction. The interrelation with food functions in two distinct manners: literally and figuratively. This analysis will concentrate on the figurative role of food in The Bell Jar, and how it denotes Esther’s overall state....   [tags: The Bell Jar]

Research Papers
594 words (1.7 pages)

Did Esther Trap Herself in "The Bell Jar"? Essay

- The Bell Jar is an autobiography of a female sophomore. The girl-Esther, who is 19 years old, came from suburban area of Boston. As she had talent writing skills, she was invited to New York to serve as guest editor in a national fashion magazine office. In her one-month stay in New York, on one hand, Esther was cautious and conscientious to learn from an able and efficient female editor-Jay Cee, and she dreamt to follow Jay Cee’s successful step. On the other hand, she met various men and women in her colorful social life....   [tags: bell jar, ]

Research Papers
1590 words (4.5 pages)

Adolescence in the Bell Jar and Catcher in the Rye Essay

- Adolescence in the Bell Jar and Catcher in the Rye Adolescence is the period between puberty and adulthood. Every teenager experience this moment in life differently some sail through happily to carry on with a peaceful life where as others are less fortunate and find that this moment is much more harder and stressful then they thought. Esther Greenwood and Holden Caulfield are one of the less fortunate and have bad experiences through their adolescent. Salinger and Plath present this in their novels Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar....   [tags: Bell Jar, Catcher in the Rye]

Research Papers
6252 words (17.9 pages)

Identity in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Essay

- Identity in The Bell Jar         A sense of individuality is essential for surviving the numerous emotional and physical obstacles encountered in daily life. A unique identity is perhaps one of the only true characteristics that defines an individual and is definitely a key principle for understanding and responding to one's atmosphere. In the "Bell Jar," Esther battles not only a deteriorating mental stability, but also a lack of a sense of individuality. Esther is a young, sensitive and intelligent woman who feels oppressed by the obvious social restrictions placed upon women, and the pressure she feels regarding her future....   [tags: Plath Bell Jar Essays]

Research Papers
1633 words (4.7 pages)

Essay on Plath's The Bell Jar -The Liberated Woman

- Plath's The Bell Jar -The Liberated Woman      I tried to imagine what it would be like if Constantin were my husband.   It would mean getting up at seven and cooking him eggs and bacon and toast and coffee and dawdling about in my nightgown and curlers after he'd left for work to wash up the dirty plates and make the bed, and then when he came home after a lively, fascinating day he'd expect a big dinner, and I'd spend the evening washing up even more dirty plates till I fell into bed, utterly exhausted....   [tags: Plath Bell Jar Essays]

Research Papers
1630 words (4.7 pages)

Once the stay at the hotel is over, Esther returns home to Boston, home to more disappointments. “The air punched out of my stomach. All through June the writing course stretched before me like a bright, safe bridge over the dull gulf of the summer. Now I saw it totter and dissolve...” During this time, Buddy Willard is in a hospital treating patients with TB. Esther discovers that Buddy is falling in love with a nurse there, and continues with her own life in Boston. Insomnia begins to grow upon Esther, and her mother refers her to a psychiatrist. The doctor concludes that Esther suffers a severe state of depression, and is tells her that electroshock therapy is needed. Later in the story, it reveals that the first few treatments she received actually causes her restlessness. Because of these bad therapy sessions, Esther goes through many attempts at suicide, none successful. A major cause of her depression is revealed. “I thought that if my father hadn’t died, he would have taught me all about insects, which was his specialty at the university.” She then finds her father’s grave and “couldn’t understand why I was crying so hard.” After more suicide attempts, she is taken to a mental institution. Even there, she still thinks of suicide and did not enjoy, maybe hated, visits from her mother. In one scene in the story, the mother visits. “That afternoon my mother had brought me the roses. ‘Save them for my funeral,’ I’d said... ‘But Esther, don’t you remember what day it is today?’ ‘No...’ ‘It’s your birthday.’ And that was when I had dumped the roses in the wastebasket.” This was at her third institute she was transferred to. At this same institute, she met an old friend, Joan who she grew to dislike. But also here, she meets Dr. Nolan, the only person she seems to open up to. She actually allows the doctor to perform electroshock therapy even with the previously failed treatments. The sessions proved to help greatly and in a few weeks, she seemed ready to return home. Esther goes in for her interview to be released, but “how did I know that someday – at college, in Europe, somewhere, anywhere – the bell jar, with its stifling distortions, wouldn’t descend again?” And so, the story ends.

The novel brings back to life the 1950’s. Being that the novel reflects Plath’s own life in the 1950’s, many similarities occur. Women grew more superficial in the 50’s, concerning themselves with the opposite sex. This is shown by the other girls at the hotel “painting their nails and trying to keep their Bermuda tans.” Also in the Fifties, sex became more and more casual. Esther had expected Buddy to remain pure until marriage, but she finds that he is not a virgin and was sexually active during that summer. But this novel does not concern too much of America’s history, but more of Plath’s own past. The Bell Jar depicted Sylvia Plath’s life and ulitmate destruction.
Return to