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Depression In Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

1281 words - 5 pages

Depression can be defined as part of a psychological state of mind that a person might encounter. Most famously recognized psychiatrist Sigmund Freud is known for his Psychodynamic theory. His psychoanalysis theory is known to be successful for treating patients with mental illness. Sylvia Plath, the author of the Bell Jar, makes the main character Esther go through a psychological transformation. Esther’s transformation can be realized through Freud’s psychoanalysis theory as the story unfolds from the beginning to end. The influences of people and events around Esther have affected her transformation.
The events in New York introduce us to the beginning of Esther’s psychological transformation. The story first inaugurates with the executions of the Rosenbergs, where the Rosenbergs were electrocuted to death. They were believed to be supporting communism. The executions of the Rosenbergs deeply affected Esther’s mental state because of the way that they were executed. She believed that electrocution was unconstitutional and should have not been applied to them. According to Esther in chapter one, “I knew something was wrong with me that summer, because all I could think about was the Rosenbergs and how stupid I’d been to buy those uncomfortable, expensive clothes”(Plath 2). This quote emphasizes how Esther is becoming unable to control her mind mainly because of the events surrounding her. Based on Freud’s theory, a person’s mind is composed of both unconscious and conscious thoughts. When these thoughts interact they create a state of repression, where the person becomes unaware of conflicting problems that they be having. According to Rashmi Nemade author of “Psychology of Depression- Psychodynamic Theories Esther”, repression is “a state where you are unaware of having certain troubling motives, wishes or desires but they influence you negatively just the same” . Esther is experiencing repression because she is fighting the two different thoughts in her mind. Her state of repression is leading her to become depress.
When Esther first arrives in New York, she doesn't have the same reaction that most of the other girls around her have. She enforces this reaction when she says “I guess I should have been excited the way most of the other girls were, but I couldn't get myself to react.” From a psychological perspective we could tell that something is deeply wrong with her. She is isolating herself from others. According to Saul McLeod, the author of the article called “Psycho dynamic Approach” states that “our behaviors and feelings as adults are powerfully affected by the unconscious thoughts” . This means that unconscious are a product of behaviors and feelings. She is unable to think in a rational way because of her inability to control the balance between her conscious and unconscious thoughts.
Influences can be either positive or negative but in this case it affects her negatively. Esther’s encounter with Doreen has negatively...

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