The Bell Jar — страница 2

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evident because of her manner of describing the situation and the lack of care she manifested about the event. She actually did not even attempt to wash off a dirty mark on her face that was left by her abusive date; she found it lightly amusing to leave it that way and also disposed of all her clothes for her return home, borrowing a single outfit (that she would wear for the following weeks) from a friend. And then the month at Mademoiselle was over.For Sylvia Plath, a major cause of frustration and disconcertment was the role that women were supposed to play in society, as far as dating and relationships were concerned. Esther expresses this emotion in scenes of The Bell Jar related to her on and off boyfriend, Buddy Willard. While in New York she has a flashback of when she

discovered that Buddy was actually not a virgin, and had cheated on her with a waitress. That men should socially be allowed and even encouraged to sexually experiment while women were held as shameful and horrible for doing the same was a concept and custom that Plath was highly critical of and was frustrated with. Esther was voicing Plath s own thoughts. At first I thought he must have slept with the waitress only the once, but when I asked how many times, just to make sure, he said he couldn t remember but a couple of times a week for the rest of the summer Most boys were like that and you couldn thonestly accuse them of anything until you were married. Later on she would also reminisce about how Buddy contracted tuberculosis and had to be institutionalized. She would go and

see a seriously deteriorated Willard whose father even was disgusted with. This would later connect to her own depression caused by seeing her surrounding peers and family so disappointed by her situation and condition. She not only saw Buddy s ugly physical aspects, but also realized that he was in fact jealous of her writing abilities and suffered even something similar to an inferiority complex because of it. Plath described this intimidation of her boyfriends because of her talent and their bitter jealousy of her as commonplace in most of the men she found. Once Esther returned home, disillusioned with her whole experience at Mademoiselle, she found herself faced with more bad news. She had signed up for a writing course that would keep her occupied for the rest of the summer

and was not accepted. Esther herself best describes the significance of this occurrence, right after her mother tells her the news. The air punched out of my stomach. All through June the writing course stretched before me like a bright, safe bridge over the dull gulf of the summer. Now I saw it totter and dissolve Esther s not being accepted into the writing course was a major influence on her depression not only because it left her unoccupied but also because it fueled her growing notion that she was a failure. In New York she had felt useless when she realized the true nature of that which she had been aiming up to with all her efforts her whole life; this was an affirmation of her inability to be anything besides a scholarship earner and academic whiz. Instead of things

turning better once she arrived home, she made them worse for herself. When her friends called from the course asking when they were to expect her, she informed them that she had not been accepted. They then offered her to come regardless and take some other course but she declined. This was the first big step Esther took towards complete isolation. She ominously says in the book that the minute I hung up I knew I should have said that I would come. After hearing from Buddy that he was falling in love with a nurse at the hospital, Esther goes about life at her hometown, closed inside her room most of the day and unable to sleep most of the night. She makes an attempt to write a novel but because of her state of mind she is unable to do so. This is the ultimate proof to her that

she is a complete failure and really has nothing to look forward to or to expect. She also feels that she has disappointed her whole family with her own failure, which in reality is a misconception fed by her depression. Her insomnia leads her to gradually ask for more and more sleeping pills, and in a short time she is referred to a psychiatrist, who after three weeks of useless appointments concludes that she is depressed and recommends her for electroshock treatments. Then what occurs that is caused by the doctor s irresponsibility is what sends Esther into a severe depression and leads to her suicide attempt. The electroshock treatments are administered badly and cause a severe negative impression on her. In fact, the effect of the shock is the complete opposite of what was