Essay On The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath

Pain and gore are endemic to “The Bell Jar,” and they are described objectively, self-mockingly, almost humorously to begin with.Taken in by the tone (the first third of “The Bell Jar” might be a mordant, sick-joke version of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”), the reader is being lured into the lion’s den—that sterile cement room in the basement of a mental hospital where the electric-shock-therapy machine waits for its frightened clients.

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With “fifteen years of straight A’s” behind her, a depressing attachment to a dreary but handsome medical student, Buddy Willard, still unresolved, and a yearning to be a poet, she is the kind of girl who doesn’t know what drink to order or how much to tip a taxi driver but is doing her thesis on the “twin images” in “Finnegans Wake,” a book she has never managed to finish. “That morning I had tried to hang myself.”Camouflage and illness go together in “The Bell Jar;” moreover, illness is often used to lift or tear down a façade.

Her imagination is at war with the small-town tenets of New England and the big-time sham of New York. Doreen, a golden girl of certainty admired by Esther, begins the process by getting drunk.

Torn between conflicting roles—the sweetheart--mother and “the life of the poet,” neither very real to her—Esther finds life itself inimical.

Afraid of distorting the person she is yet to become, she becomes the ultimate distortion—nothing.

The pressure to assimilate to Esther doesn’t want this because she feels she doesn’t deserve it in this life, she’s not in love with Buddy, and she wants to live her life more before marrying and becoming a mother.

Buddy tries multiple to get Esther to marry him because marriage was what was expected of a women during that time period. One day Esther is walking on the beach and she meets a nice prison guard who she believed that “If I’d had the sense to go on living in that old town I might just have met this prison guard in school and married him and had a parcel of kids by now” (Plath 144).

Unable to experience or mime emotions, she feels defective as a person. Later, she learns that the friend has hanged herself.

The gap between her and the world widens: “I couldn’t get myself to react. A plain recital of the events in “The Bell Jar” would be ludicrous if they were not balanced by genuine desperation at one side of the scale and a sure sense of black comedy at the other.

“That’s one of the reasons I never wanted to get married.

The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from.


Comments Essay On The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath

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