Slipping Into Insanity
A time of individuality and rebellion made a mark in the world of literature, and modernist writers weren’t afraid to break away from the norm. The Bell Jar, written by Sylvia Plath, is an outstanding novel which depicts the modernist era as a whole. Sylvia Plath takes her readers through the mind of a young girl in her twenties, Esther, whose stability and sanity slowly start to slip away. Esther’s trouble starts within her mind but become magnified when external factors start to interfere. She disconnects herself from society and as her mind regresses; her hope of reaching sanity starts to diminish as well. Throughout the novel, Esther struggles with finding herself in a society filled with uncertainty. Sylvia Plath was able to create the perfect character to reveal her attitude towards new modernist view through her literary techniques, symbolism, and was able to intertwine reality with lunacy, creating the perfect modernist piece of literature. The modern era was composed of many elements in which authors incorporated a variety of literary techniques. The use of stream of consciousness, juxtaposition of ideas, staccato sentences, and symbolism was what led the modern era to success. The shifting outlook authors had during this era was like a chain reaction, and writers began to utilize these techniques to create a novel which was considered to be taboo. Sylvia Plath uses many symbols throughout The Bell Jar to represent various intangible concepts. Esther often feels disconnected from the real world and feels trapped in a bell jar, where her outlook on life is distorted. A bell jar is an airless container often used to exhibit objects dealing with science; this jar represents Esther’s insanity. Once she feels she is released from the bell jar, she has a sense of freedom, yet she can still feel it hovering over her, ready to suck her back into her own insanity. Esther also often refers to a fig tree when...
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