This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

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...

Find Another Essay On Identity and Depression in the 1950s Bell Jar

Quest for Self-Identity in Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing and The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

2178 words - 9 pages crossroads between different values, and her insecurity of her self-certainty limits her presenting her self-image to others. The novel reflects her journey of finding a resolution for her identity crisis, her struggle to conquer one of the most difficult issues in lives. In Spite of The Bell Jar, Esther searches consistently for some kind of identity but finds her options limited as a young woman with little money of her own. After a disappointing

The Evil Outside Forces of Depression in the Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

2134 words - 9 pages her big fall as she was leaving New York. Esther encountered many obstacles in her life that were set and eventually forced a harsh depression, while the help she had vanished and did not support her throughout her depression, causing a near fatal outcome. Works Cited The Bell Jar

“Seeing Through the Bell Jar: Distorted Female Identity in Cold War America

1589 words - 6 pages The essay “Seeing Through the Bell Jar: Distorted Female Identity in Cold War America” by Rosi Smith, argues that the book, “The Bell Jar”, by Sylvia Plath is about women in 1950s America who struggled to find their personal identities outside what was defined by the Cold War Ideology of the role of women in the household. According to Smith, the character Esther Greenwood’s inability to integrate her identity is because of the state of the

Envisioning a New Identity in The Bell Jar by Syvia Plath

2146 words - 9 pages shown as being stubborn because she rejects the womanhood that is presented to her. Instead, she spends her time worrying about what she thinks it is to be a woman. Sylvia Plath’s novel, The Bell Jar, diagrams the repressed role women endured due to the restrictions and expectations of societal norms. During the 1950s the American Dream for women was to not fall short in the male-dominant society. Women wanted to enter the paid work force to

Adolescence in the Bell Jar and Catcher in the Rye

5752 words - 23 pages Adolescence in the Bell Jar and Catcher in the Rye Adolescence is the period between puberty and adulthood. Every teenager experience this moment in life differently some sail through happily to carry on with a peaceful life where as others are less fortunate and find that this moment is much more harder and stressful then they thought. Esther Greenwood and Holden Caulfield are one of the less fortunate and have bad experiences through

The Feminine Ideal in The Bell Jar

1671 words - 7 pages Throughout The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath explores a number of themes, particularly regarding the gender roles, and subsequently, the mental health care system for women. Her 19-year-old protagonist, Esther Greenwood, is the vessel through which Plath poses many probing questions about these topics to the reader. In the 1950s when the novel was set, women were held to a high standard: to be attractive but pure, intelligent but submissive, and to

Sylvia Plath and the Bell Jar

1491 words - 6 pages ). The Bell Jar was Sylvia Plath’s single complete prose work and is an autobiography; however, the novel follows her life’s story under the alternate identity of Esther Greenwood. Due to Plath’s concern about The Bell Jar’s accuracy to her reality, she had it published under the anonym Victoria Lucas, which is just like Esther plans to do in the book. The Bell Jar did not emerge under the name Sylvia Plath until three years after her death in

The Bell Jar Analysis

1761 words - 7 pages the depression will remain at bay from the Rebirth Stage and beyond. Once again, the plot structure of The Bell Jar by Silvia Plath has 5 stages that make up the Rebirth Archetype: The Falling Stage, Recession Stage, Imprisonment Stage, Nightmare Stage, and The Rebirth Stage. In these stages, Esther falls under the wicked spell of her depression and after times of utter despair and anguish, was finally set free by her helping hand, Dr. Nolan

The Bell Jar

1050 words - 5 pages Summary: The Bell Jar opens with Esther Greenwood, a clever nineteen year old girl working as an intern at a well-known women’s magazine in New York City. Despite her seemingly wonderful life, success, and academic achievements, Esther often feels overwhelming senses of alienation and looks to her future with a sense of hopelessness in fear of becoming a docile housewife. These traits of early signs of depression soon became inflamed by her

The Bell Jar

1087 words - 5 pages The Bell Jar is a very much realistic and honestly written book, even considering it’s a semi-autobiography. Sylvia Plath has really accurately written what it’s like to grow up, a long journey involving finding one’s own identity and self-developing, expectations from people in authority and, in this particular case as well as many others, mental illness. It also includes the restricted role of women during the middle of the 20th century in

The Bell Jar

1326 words - 5 pages The Bell Jar People's lives are shaped through their success and failure in their personal relationships with each other. The author Sylvia Plath demonstrates this in the novel, The Bell Jar. This is the direct result of the loss of support from a loved one, the lack of support and encouragement, and lack of self confidence and insecurity in Esther's life in the The Bell Jar. It was shaped through her success and failures in her personal

Similar Essays

Identity In The Bell Jar Essay

1492 words - 6 pages Identity in the Bell JarA sense of individuality is essential for surviving the numerous emotional and physical obstacles encountered in daily life. A unique identity is perhaps one of the only true characteristics that defines an individual and is definitely a key principle for understanding and responding to one's atmosphere. In the "Bell Jar", Esther battles not only a deteriorating mental stability, but also a lack of sense of individuality

Depression In Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

1281 words - 5 pages relationship according to Freud has impacted Esther. Esther’s psychological transformation from a perfectly healthy person ends up suffering from depression. Her influences around her have negatively shown Esther a negative path to take. The events during the 1950s such as the Rosenbergs executions have only made the transformation even powerful. Sylvia Plath’s life could be compared to the Bell Jar because she was in the same situation as Esther. Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis and psycho dynamic has addressed depression through the main character Esther. Works Cited (simplypsychology.org) (info.emergencehealthnetwork.org)

Identity In Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

1673 words - 7 pages Identity in The Bell Jar         A sense of individuality is essential for surviving the numerous emotional and physical obstacles encountered in daily life. A unique identity is perhaps one of the only true characteristics that defines an individual and is definitely a key principle for understanding and responding to one's atmosphere. In the "Bell Jar," Esther battles not only a deteriorating mental stability, but also a lack of a sense

Feminine Identity In The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath

3888 words - 16 pages 50.7 (1988): 768-85. Web. Halliwell, Martin. American Culture in the 1950s. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2007. Print. Hoogland, Renée C. Lesbian Configurations. Between Men–Between Women: Lesbian and Gay Studies. New York: Columbia UP, 1997. Print. Kolodny, Annette. “Some Notes on Defining a ‘Feminist Literary Criticism.’” Critical Inquiry 2.1 (1975): 75-92. Web. Leach, Laurie F. “Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar: Trapped by The Feminine