The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath Essay

1185 Words 5 Pages
Sylvia Plath was an inspiring and gifted young author who used her life experiences as muses for her writings. In the novel The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath portrays mental illness and feminism through Esther. During the 1950’s in America, women were not educated and not expected to go to college. They were not prepared to support themselves and could rely on marriage and children as a predestined fate. Plath and Esther defied these stereotypical views when Plath attended Smith College and exceeded expectations(“Bell”). In The Bell Jar, Esther also pursues her writing career at college as she endures mental illness, has to work against societal views of women, and tries to find a man who she can love(Johnson). Although Sylvia Plath was intelligent and thriving she suffered from great depression and mental illness since she was a child. As she grew older, her depression became severe and altered her attitude and her writing. After she returned home from Smith College for a summer and learned she had not been accepted into a summer writing course, she tried to rebuild herself and her writing, and in the process she became miserable. With a downfall in her writing career, she attempted suicide and was hospitalized. Later she was sent to an asylum where she was given electroshock therapies which are shown in the second half of The Bell Jar. Plath describes the shock therapy in The Bell Jar as, “Then something bent down and took hold of me and shook me like the end of the world……

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