The Denotation Of Insecurity In Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

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The denotation of an insecurity is “a lack of confidence or assurance; self-doubt”, another, simpler definition is “instability” (“Insecurity”). The connotation associated with insecurities is that they are rooted from uncertainty of society’s views. This is interesting because society’s opinions can also be deemed unstable. Sylvia Plath comments on this relationship in her novel, The Bell Jar. By telling the relatable story of a protagonist, Esther, who faces society-induced depression, the author highlights the idea that words tend to make an impression on people. Esther cares what people think, being a breath of fresh air compared to many novels in which the hero is already very confident in his or her own skin. Plath manages to create a …show more content…
The most prevalent of society’s ideals is sex, in her mind the “world [is] divided into people who had slept with somebody and people who hadn’t, and this seemed the only really significant difference between one person and another” (82). After finding out that her boyfriend has previously had sex with another woman, Esther wants to experience something similar. She begins a quest to sleep with a man so she can switch categories. Esther can recognize the emphasis that society has placed on having sex and wants to understand why it is such a big deal. She sees people, such as Buddy Willard, boasting about having sexual experiences and she wants to be able to see the view of the part of society who has had sex. A majority of the novel includes her ideas of seducing certain men, her trying to reach a standard. When it finally happens, she expects too much of it. She sees what society has chosen for her to see, the wonderful and romantic aspect. She describes the fore moments magically, saying she laid spellbound, “rapt and naked, on Irwin’s rough blanket, waiting for the miraculous change to make itself felt” (229). As excited as Esther was before, she ended up not enjoying the experience. While culture flaunts the nice things about intercourse, Esther did experience things she did not expect. The entire time, she complains it hurts, and after the …show more content…
There have been studies that prove that “depression, and anxiety for that matter, are the most likely outcomes of living in and with the unmerciful and misguided constraints of a tired and destructive worldview.” (INSERT) Because Esther’s views do not match precisely with the world’s, she is considered to have a “destructive worldview” (INSERT). Just like Esther, people have many needs that their surroundings cannot meet, whether emotional, as in the case of the novel, or physical. This lack of nourishment can lead to depression (INSERT). Esther seems to think she is alone in not being able to see what she is ‘supposed’ to be seeing. People tend to have the same outlook today, therefore if Plath is correct, societally induced depression is becoming more prominent of a problem
Plath manages to keep a charismatic character alive in the wake of everything going wrong. Esther is a heroin who proves to young women everywhere that as long as they care about what society believes, they will never be able to find happiness. Through Esther’s struggles, Plath highlights the negative impact that society can have on a

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