Essay on The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath

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 fifteen years of straight A’s, but I knew that’s what marriage was like.” (Plath 84). Sylvia conveys her own experiences and thoughts into the character of Esther, and through this, she expresses her beliefs and opinions on society’s expectations of women. Esther (Sylvia), explains how she

Peck 2

believed being married, becoming a mother, and trying to reach societal expectations was like becoming a brainwashed slave, which clearly is an unpleasant experience. Therefore Plath states: “So I began to think maybe it was true that when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed, and afterward you went about numb as a slave in some private, totalitarian state.” (Plath 85). The type of life that a 1950’s/60’s society…

Related Documents