Depression In The Bell Jar
In the Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath the nineteen-year-old college student, Esther, wins guest editorship at a fashion magazine called Ladies’ Day. Although she seems to be living her dreams in New York, her plans unexpectedly change. Plath uses the magazine, relationships with men, friends, marriage, and her mother to illustrate that social pressure on women in the 1950s could lead to depression.
Plath shows how Esther’s job at Ladies’ Day, the magazine company, puts pressure on her as a worker and causes her to question her future in the workplace. In Jennifer Dunn’s article, “Literary Contexts in Novels: Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’”, she states, “The magazine’s editor, the dynamic ‘Jay …show more content…
She does not agree with the fact that a man basically rules a woman. Esther feels she would be throwing away all her hard work in school to get married and have kids. Esther firmly states, “I’m never going to get married” (Plath 93). Ever since her boyfriend, Buddy, put the idea of marriage into Esther’s head it caused her thoughts on marriage to race. Esther does not agree with marriage and does not want to give her life away to a man. Esther says, “This seemed a dreary and wasted life for a girl with fifteen years of straight A’s, but I knew that’s what marriage was like” (Plath 84). She wants to be a smart and independent woman but also wants to find a partner in life. Although due to Esther’s perfectionist standards, her grades are exceedingly high. Esther works extremely hard in her school to achieve the grades she desires. She does not want to throw away her life and all her hard work to get married and have kids and not have a career in writing. Esther ponders about marriage by thinking “maybe it was true when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed, and afterward you went about numb as a slave in some private, totaliarn state” (Plath 85). Esther fears that after getting married nothing in her life would matter except caring for her kids and pleasing her husband. This is not the way Esther wants to live. The thought of marriage scares Esther and she thinks it is a waste of all her hard work in school. She does not want to get married, but is not sure what she will do with her future. This adds to her