The Bell Jar

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The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath Essay, Research Paper Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar Although there are elements of fiction included, and even true events are somewhat altered and rearranged, The Bell Jar is essentially an autobiography of Sylvia Plath, who is recognized for her impeccable and ruthless poetry, which excels at describing the most extreme reaches of Plath s consciousness and passions (from back cover of Rough Magic by Paul Alexander). Perhaps though what Plath is more noted for, and what arguably made her famous on a large scale, is her tormented life of depression and disappointment, that Plath herself ended at the young age of thirty. The time frame that the book refers to, is a period in Plath s life when she underwent a series of experiences that led to her

infamous suicide attempt and institution in several mental institutes. Sylvia Plath would not again reach a low point even close to this one until the actual time of her death. In The Bell Jar the main character Esther Greenwood is the parallel to Plath, and all other characters in the story in fact did have their real-life parallels as well, although some of the events are told out of order and there are fictitious events added for a more interesting plot. What is most important about The Bell Jar is Plath s own mentally disturbed perspective of the situations that unfold before her, and this is what makes the book not only a grand piece of literature but also an important insight into depression from a psychological point of view. In The Bell Jar there are a series of

circumstances and events that, combined with her own mentally troubled persona, lead Esther Greenwood into a downward spiral of depression that culminates in a suicide attempt, which brings about the consequence of her institutionalization in several facilities. Eventually it will also be a set of influential people and circumstances as well as her slowly growing healthy outlook on life that lead to her recovery.The beginning of the story finds Esther halfway through her month long experience working for the fashion magazine Mademoiselle, an event that she had awaited for the last year of her life. Esther was currently in a prestigious university on scholarship, and had won the opportunity to work for the magazine for a month out of the summer because of her exceptional writing

abilities. She had expected the experience to be glorious and to surpass all her expectations, since this event she had been awaiting for months before, yet it wasn t. One of her great disappointments was actually seeing how the lifestyle she aspired to did not actually live up to her expectations. Esther is particularly disappointed in her fellow prizewinners that also made the job at Mademoiselle. She finds her new acquaintances as well as people in general in New York to be much less than she was expecting and manifests it early on in the book. These girls looked awfully bored to me. I saw them on the roof yawning and painting their nails and trying to keep their Bermudatans, and they seemed bored as hell . Girls like that make me sick. I m so jealous I can t speak It was my

first big chance, buthere I was, sitting back and letting it run through my fingers likeso much water. I guess one of my troubles was Doreen (roommate). Aside from her overall negative outlook on people and the lifestyle of New York, there were also particular events that made her stay in the city quite more distasteful and unpleasant. At a dinner given to all the girls at the hotel, there was poisoned crabmeat that was served which made the girls all sick. Esther was the first of about 20 girls who got nauseated and passed out. Her recovery was then dull and lowered her mood and further fueled her dismay with the whole experience. Also, shortly before returning back home, she went out to a party where she was physically assaulted by her date. At this point her depression was