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Identity And Depression In The 1950s Bell Jar

2333 words - 10 pages

Sylvia Plath is a twentieth century award winning poet and novelist of The Bell Jar. Plath was born on October 23, 1932 in Jamaica Plain Massachusetts. She suffered from depression for most of her life, starting when she was eight years old after her father died. Plath’s depression is reflected in her works, as she strongly relies on her own feelings to create similar moods, tones and themes in her poems and novel, The Bell Jar.
Sylvia Plath showed interest in writing at a very early age. Plath published her first poem when she was eight years old. Sylvia Plath continued writing and published numerous stories and poems before the age of twenty. After graduation in 1950, Plath received the ...view middle of the document...

In Plath’s “Sheep in Fog”, one of her last poems before her death, the last stanza states “they threaten to let me through to a heaven starless and fatherless, a dark water” (AAoP). This stanza is thought to be a reference back to Plath’s father’s loss and how his death caused her misery (Telegraph). In the poem, “Daddy” Plath portrays men as evil, using references of her father and her husband. “I was ten when they buried you./ At twenty I tried to die/ and get back, back, back to you” (AAoP). This quote from “Daddy” implies that the father’s death caused the speaker to try to commit suicide. In the poem, Plath also writes, “I made a model of you”, meaning her father, and she goes on to blame him for marrying “the vampire who…drank my blood for…seven years”(AAoP). When Plath wrote “Daddy”, she was married to Ted Hughes for seven years; thus leading readers to believe she is alluding to the unhealthy relationship the couple shared. Many other poems by Plath have been directly related to her experiences with men in her life, all sharing similar tones, moods and themes.
Most of Plath’s works are confessional writings. This means that Plath uses her unique life experiences to convey similar themes, such as depression, women’s insanity, death and dysfunctional relationships, all ideas, which she lived with during her life, in her works. Plath’s diction notably affected the mood of all her works. Because of the morbid and sad area’s Plath focused on while writing, most of her writings all share similar moods and tones. The moods and tones Plath’s works convey mirror her own feelings and/or state she was in when she was writing the texts. Plath’s works convey tones like desolation, pain, numbness and melancholic feelings. The tone and mood of Plath’s works are directly related making the mood just as dark and depressing, as Plath’s was when she wrote them. The themes, tones and moods of Plath’s works are truly “herself, her thoughts, feelings, and experiences” (Sylvia Plath: The Deep, Dark, Disturbed).
Plath has published many works among them includes her only novel, The Bell Jar. The Bell Jar was originally published under the pseudonym of Victoria Lucas in 1963 in the United Kingdom (The Famous People). Plath committed suicide in home in England one month after the novel was published (AAoP). In The Bell Jar, Plath managed to produce a sense of compelling truthfulness and expression. The novel takes readers on a honest journey through the experience of insanity.
Sylvia Plath’s, The Bell Jar is a semi-autobiographical novel set back in the 1950s. Plath’s writing successfully captures the essence of an era as well as the trials faced by women in society, such as sexism, adamant expectations of women and conformity. The novel follows the dynamic character, Esther Greenwood, a young woman who is eerily similar to Plath, as she faces these trials and subsequently slips into depression because of them. Plath’s use of symbolism, tone and...

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