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The Bell Jar Essay

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 America, very accurately portrayed, even as the book was written in 1962, nine years after the events of the book.
Something that strikes me a lot about the book is how Plath has managed to capture vagueness and subtlety of depression. It does not say ...view middle of the document...

What I suspect triggered this phase is the fact that I had academical and societal expectations and demands shoved upon me, both by myself and others, and that this stressed me out to the point of what-might-have-been depression. For Esther, patriarchal oppression and her general relation to men was a much larger factor than school. It became clear to her that her considered fiancé-de-facto, Buddy Willard, was a perfect example of the double standard that states that it is perfectly acceptable for a man to lose his virginity before marriage, but if a woman does the same she is to be considered a whore, as she is expected to “save herself” for her husband. The realization really changes her thoughts of said fiancé-de-facto, and from on the point of the event she considers him a hypocrite and acts coldly towards him. It should be noted that Buddy Willard has on multiple occasions, purposefully or not, made Esther feel absurd and ignorant in comparison to his superiority and logical ways.
The book starts of in New York City, Esther has won a contest and gets to spend a month in the city together with eleven other girls. Shortly after she returns home, when she’s already severely depressed, her mother encourages, convinces or forces her to see Dr. Gordon, a therapist. Esther doesn’t trust Dr. Gordon at all, and thinks of him as unsympathetic and smug. She feels like he isn’t listening to her when talking about her experiences and what she feels, and gets her shock therapy without actually considering what might be the best kind of treatment for her.
Esther is a studious young woman, an English major, and aspires to become a poet, but gets torn between wanting to marry, become a mother, settle down and let her ambitions go to please everyone else and fulfil expectations or to live her dream as a writer, but living a lonely life. This is important to note because it’s also an effect of patriarchal oppression and expectations.
Esther has what I would say is...

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