The Importance Of Conform To Society In The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath

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Dr. Seuss once asked: “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”, a question still relevant today. Why should we conform to society’s expectations when we were born to escape them? In The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Esther Greenwood suffered from depression but suppressed how she really felt in hopes of fitting in, which caused her to sink into a further depression. Only when Esther grew out of her desire to fit in was she able to find a way out of her depression. This brought on a valuable lesson: we should not attempt to conform to society’s expectations.
Specifically, trying to conform to society 's expectations prevents us from voicing our needs and causes us to suppress our problems. In the book, Esther’s family and friends noticed her
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Esther did not vocalize the fact that she needed help because it had been ingrained in her through her schooling and family teachings that women should be happy and carefree, which caused Esther to fear being labeled as weird for her depressed emotions, so she suppressed them and chose not to talk about them. She was so afraid of being labeled and overtaken by her desire to fit in that she suppressed her depression and didn’t admit that she needed help, only receiving proper treatment when she attempted suicide. Society also expected women to be a wife and homemaker as their first priority, but Esther wanted a career and not the traditional life of a housewife: “This seemed a dreary and wasted life for a girl with straight A’s, but I knew that’s what marriage was like, because cooking and cleaning and washing was just what Buddy Willard’s mother did from morning till night” (Plath 84). Even though Esther felt becoming a housewife would be a waste of her academic …show more content…
Esther was caused discontent by staying with Buddy and conforming rather than being labeled as mean for ending things with Buddy. In Esther’s day, women were supposed to remain pure until marriage, so Esther protected her virginity: “It had been of such enormous importance to me for so long that my habit was to defend it at all costs. I had been defending it for five years and I was sick of it” (Plath 228). Society had a double standard - men were allowed to have sex before marriage but women had to remain pure. Esther was caused discontent because men were allowed to engage in sexual intercourse prior to marriage and would face no repercussions but she tried to conform to society’s norms about women keeping their virginity, and she feared being called names if she engaged in sexual intercourse prior to

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