The Bell Jar Analysis

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Yvette Mendez
Period: 2
2-26-12
The Trouble with Being a Woman

A mother and faithful wife wakes up early every morning to make breakfast and set the table perfectly symmetrical, so that her husband and two children can eat when they wake up. Then the clock strikes eight and she kisses her husband good-bye for the day, helps him put on his coat and he’s out the door. Then, for the rest of the day, she cooks, cleans, and takes care of the children. When her husband returns from work, they have dinner as a family, go to sleep, ant the routine starts all over again the next day. In the 1950’s, the ultimate accomplishment for a woman was to be a mother and a housewife. Unlike most women during this time, Esther Greenwood is a scholarship college student who aspires to be a poet and a writer. Unfortunately, this becomes impossible for her as extreme pressure is imposed on her to succeed academically, all while being a wife and mother. Ultimately, Esther goes mad and attempts suicide, but fails. In Sylvia Plath’s, “The Bell Jar”, she explores that imposing social pressures and expectations on people often cause depression, rebelliousness, and a loss of identity within the victim.

Society is cruel and unforgiving because when it expects too much from a person, it can cause that person to become depressed. One of the very obvious signs that reveals that Esther is depressed is her suicide attempt. Esther first discovers that something is wrong with her when she sits at the foot of a fig tree, struggling to choose a fig. The figs are hanging from a tree when Esther suggests that since she is “unable to decide, the figs begin to wrinkle and go black” (77). When the figs begin to die, they turn black which symbolizes death. This foreshadows one of Esther’s suicide attempts when she tries to hang herself. The figs hang from the tree just as Esther attempts to hang herself from her mother’s silk bathrobe cord. Esther realizes the house’s ceilings are not high enough...
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