The Bell Jar, By Sylvia Plath Essay

1897 Words Dec 3rd, 2016 8 Pages
The explanation of suffering has been long sought, composing itself as an almost futile yearning to understand a pain that has no answer. This search can be linked to the human condition to romanticize the unsightly in order to make it an ideal, but mental illness is unfortunately unyielding to easy explanations. In Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar,” protagonist Esther Greenwood struggles with her mental illness in many ways, most of all in finding the strength to understand it. While wrestling with her separation from the world, she explores the ways in which to represent and analyze, as well as cope with, her tragic descent into depression. Her attempt at reconciliation takes the form of a fixation surrounding the duality of beauty and ugliness in her pain, perceiving dark themes such as suicide to be peaceful and aesthetically pleasing. Esther’s desire to express her mental illness conjures the image of the bell jar, a suffocating symbol that causes her to aestheticize suicide and death in her struggle for cognitive clarity. The interior of the bell jar in which Esther is trapped is one of self-imprisonment, a forceful obligation of introspectiveness and solitary confinement. In this captivity, Esther is forced to face herself, a difficult task for an individual whose depression is accompanied by self-loathing and criticism. Her efforts to reconcile these intense emotions are fruitless, as she blames her pain on her multiple inadequacies. Creating a list of her perceived…

Related Documents