The Struggle In Society In The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath

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Society, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “a social circle or a group of social circles having a clearly marked identity.” Obtaining a clearly marked identity is easier said than done. The Bell Jar, written by Sylvia Plath, is a novel about nineteen year-old Esther Greenwood struggling to find her place in society. In her struggle, Esther falls into a deep depression and attempts suicide, causing her to be admitted to a mental hospital. Societal expectations of everyone, women especially, make it difficult for people to find where they are meant to belong in the world. Esther’s disgust with society makes the achievement of her expectations all the harder. Struggling to be independent causes Esther to self-destruct. Pressure …show more content…
Esther 's independent personality causes her to struggle in society. She is pushed down and ignored by those around her, which causes her to want to close in on herself ("The Bell Jar"). The coercion of society is what causes people to become depressed and want to commit suicide. Independence is seen as insurgence, making the people who hold power in society upset whenever anyone does something that is different than what they want. Esther Greenwood is seen as weird by the rest of society, because she has wants and wishes that are different than those of everyone else. She does not necessarily want a man to live, but "she must still unconsciously be dominated by the patriarchal images of womanhood that she rejects; otherwise she would not need also to split off those qualities and impulses in herself that do not meet patriarchal expectations--all that goes counter to conventional femininity and is therefore "weird"" (Bonds). Society does not like those who stray from the written path all that much. Esther does not want to conform to societal precedents, but in doing this she is seen as strange and becomes a bit of an outcast. Most people will succumb to the constraints around them and relinquish their independence to society, but Esther refuses to do so. Esther feels her whole life that she is forced into being a certain person, that “all [her] life [she had] told [herself] that studying and reading and writing was what she wanted to do…” (Plath 31). She was told to be this way early on, and that mindset and stress pushed her into being a great student. The duress from Esther’s expectations of herself, spawning from those around her, eventually causes her mental collapse. She cannot handle the stress any longer, but still tries to believe that she is fine. Esther succumbs to societal pressure, even if she does not realize

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