James C. Kaufman's Psychological Analysis

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Following Tsank’s investigation of Plath’s psychological condition, James C. Kaufman also published an investigation evaluating the correlation between artistic expression and mental disorders. His research consisted in a historical study to determine the incidence of mental illnesses in accomplished writers. He utilized biographical accounts to create a statistical report of the recurrence of mental illnesses in creative individuals. Kaufman focused his investigation in the ways that artists responded to tragedy and deception. Thus, he made sure to consider the variables or “setbacks” that could have affected the psycho-social development of the subjects, such as physical illness, and significant personal tragedy. The results of this investigation …show more content…
To feminist interpretations, the novel is less about the psychological journey of a mentally ill person, and more an open criticism to the society of the time. For Kirsten D’Elia the novel “describes the oppressive and patriarchal society in which the main character lives.” (CITE) Moreover, even though the novel was written before the insurgence of the feminist movement a decade later, it is well recognized as a piece of feminist literature. Knowingly or not, Sylvia Plath quickly gained fame and praising for being a voice against patriarchy. She was called “the accidental feminist” because of her constant discourse about the hardships of being a woman, and even more, a female writer. Her novel is not an exception to the fiery tone set on her other writings, and several times Esther is found meditating into what means to be a woman and the roles they must fulfill, which are, most to Esther’s discontent, not at all her ideal version of her own accomplished …show more content…
As explained by Marjorie G. Perloff, Plath is in a continuous search for feminine personalities who can guide her, so this becomes one of the greater motivators for the development of the character (513). Perloff evidences this behavior by analyzing the relationship between Esther and the other women of the book. She begins by explaining Plath’s relationship with the first and most influential model in the author’s life, her mother. In the novel, the presence of the mother is suffocating, according to Perloff, and this interpretation is proved several times inside the text, where Esther expresses continuous disappointment and resentment against her. “I hate her” she says, when she is asked to explain her feelings about her mother (Plath, chapter 15). As a consequence, Esther is left without guidance and all throughout the novel finds inspiration in the other women in her

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