Esther Greenwood In Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

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The Bell Jar is about a story of a young, brilliant and enormously talented woman and her struggles as she grows up in a foreign country, America. This short autobiographical novel details six months in the life of its protagonist, Esther Greenwood and the events of Sylvia Plath's twentieth year; about how she tried to die, and how they stuck her together with glue. In the narrative's opening chapter, Esther, an over-achieving college student, is spending an unhappy summer as a guest editor for a fashion magazine in New York City. After her internship ends, she returns home to live with her mother where she grows depressed each day, suffers a mental breakdown and severally attempts suicide, and she is institutionalized. The novel concludes …show more content…
Esther Greenwood has been brought up as the protagonist of the novel. Despite being highly educated, she has a breakdown. She is a woman from a modestly middle-class background, but surrounded by many relatively influential people. Esther represents the most obvious level an individual unsure of what she wants. The central conflict concerns marriage and motherhood versus literary ambitions. Given her limited financial reserves, her choice is extremely important. She is ambivalent to other female characters .At some points in the novel, she sees characters such as Doreen, Betsy, Jay Cee, Joan Gilling, and many others as role models but they all fail her expectations and this make her feelings toward women shift quite abruptly. The only female character that Esther is unambivalent toward is her mother, Mrs. Greenwood. As Sylvia depicts, "I hate her" sums up her feelings very well and this could be explained by Esther's loathing (Sylvia, 107). Her mother discouraged her from mourning over her dead father. She learns that her mother sacrificed her career for her …show more content…
On the simplest level, The Bell Jar, Plath's only novel, refers to the social pressure for young women to marryin the 1950s. One of the causes of Esther's depression is her worry that she would not make a good wife due to the following reasons: She cannot cook, stands too tall, and dances poorly. Unfortunately, she thinks her positive qualities; a high degree of intelligence, ambition, a literary aptitude is actually handicaps in themarriage market. On other occasions, Esther thinks she could never be happy in any marriage regardless ofwhom she finds as a husband. The Bell Jar overflows with other symbolism; one of the most important is birth and rebirth. In one scene, Esther witnesses a birth in the teaching hospital where Buddy Willard works. As depicted in the

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