Sexism In The Bell Jar

1272 Words 6 Pages
The Bell Jar was written around the 1950’s and 1960’s, when women were expected to adhere to specific societal norms. Often, these norms included being a mother of children, staying at home cleaning or cooking, and being an obedient wife. Society placed high importance, along with these expectations/behaviors, on the women while they were at home or in public. Society accepted women who met all these factors. Esther, a character in The Bell Jar, and Sylvia’s autobiographical figure, lacks all of these factors and therefore does not fit the norm of society during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Esther, not only did not follow these norms, but she despised them. For example, Plath writes: “This seemed a dreary and wasted life for a girl with
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Esther does not know how to react when she is around him. She disagrees with everything he stands for, being a doctor, and humiliates him on more than one occasion. Buddy’s character however, is mainly introduced because it creates a male character that Plath can use to illustrate the sexism that she believed was going on during the time period. Buddy does not respect Esther’s literary aspirations or even her caution when it comes to sexual acts. Plath uses the character of Buddy Willard to display all that she believed the typical male stood …show more content…
Sylvia is not afraid to voice her opinions and even goes on to state, “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.” (P. 84). Plath is not afraid to express her disagreement with social norms, as she believed that getting involved with men, and marriage was a waste of life, especially when one worked so hard prior to the marriage. She believed that once married, a woman would lose everything they trained for or worked hard towards in school. It was also no surprise that Plath did not want children either, since their needs would only get in the way of her writing. Sylvia not only used her writing as a therapeutic way of liberating herself from societal norms like having families, but also used it as an escape from her mental

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