Adults of the Bell Jar Essay

Good Essays
"The Role Models of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar" Throughout the novel Esther Greenwood has trouble deciding who she wants to be. Her search for an identity leads her to look at her female role models. These women are not ideal in her eyes. Although they represent a part of what she herself wants to be, Esther finds it impossible to decide which one she is to become. Jay Cee, Mrs. Willard, Philomena Guinea, her mother and Doctor Nolan all act as role models for Esther Greenwood. The ways in which these women are portrayed reveals a lot about Esther's perspectives on identity and her search for an identity of her own. Jay Cee, Mrs. Willard, and Philomena Guinea are characterized as archetypes and therefore very limiting. Jay Cee is portrayed as hyper, abrupt and she speaks, "waspishly" (29). She is smart and talented but she is ugly. Philomena Guinea, on the other hand, says that she was stupid at college and is always described as being surrounded by beautiful things. The beauty that Esther sees as the binary opposite of ugly seems to have been acquired through her "millions and millions of dollars" (38). Jay Cee has "brains, so her plug-ugly looks [don't] seem to matter" (5). But, Philomena has money so nothing else matters. Mrs. Willard is portrayed as the ultimate wife and mother. We are given the impression that Mrs. Willard embodies sensibility. She is what every little girl is supposed to grow up to be. But Esther sees differently. Mrs. Willard represents the inevitable outcome of marriage and motherhood – to flatten out under the husband's foot like a kitchen mat (80). The way the women are described brings to light the kind of relationship she had with them. For example, Esther doesn't even find it necessary to reveal much of anything about the person, Philomena Guinea. Whenever she is mentioned it is about her black Cadillac or her exotic hat or her finger bowls. Esther doesn't embrace her the way she tries to embrace

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    The Bell Jar Essay

    • 1216 Words
    • 5 Pages

    In The Bell Jar, Esther Greenwood, a nineteen-year-old girl, gets to live in the big city under the big lights of New York. Going to parties without an ounce of apprehension. Without warning, one imperfect moment changes that outlook, and suddenly Esther distances herself from everything she had come to know. The constant pressure to be perfect had an anchor effect, dragging Esther deeper into the waters of her insecurities. No one else but her mother had noticed, but as time goes on Esther continues…

    • 1216 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Bell Jar Essay

    • 461 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Blind Man Under The Fig Tree The future is extremely ambiguous, and is one of the many wonders that people cannot figure out. Even if people try to plan out the future do not know what the future will hold. In Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar and Bill Cattey’s poem What Is Happening To Me both share the idea that the future is very indecisive and difficult to face.Through Plath’s characterization of Esther and Cattey’s analogies within his poem, they show the frustration a vague future can…

    • 461 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Bell Jar

    • 782 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath’s, The Bell Jar, tells the story of a young woman in search of her identity during a time of conformity in the 1950’s. This young woman, Esther Greenwood, represents Plath herself and explains her own story as she descends into “madness”, otherwise known today as depression. Since the story was written during the 1950’s, there are some things that may seem somewhat outdated. However, one can still relate to Plath’s story in many ways even today. Like any other novel written…

    • 782 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Bell Jar

    • 675 Words
    • 3 Pages

    The presentation and significance of moments when light and dark imagery are brought to the fore. Light is a motif encountered in The Bell Jar and Thérèse Raquin, used to illuminate true human nature. In The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s use of mirrors conveys Esther dissociated identities; the mirror is a reminder of her inability to understand herself, and presents the difference between her inner self and the person she exhibits to the outer world. Similarly, Emile Zola uses light in Thérèse…

    • 675 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Bell Jar

    • 480 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Comparison of Chapter 1 of the Bell Jar and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest The bell jar and one flew over the cuckoo’s nest can be linked considerably. Both novels are set in 1950’ America post the ‘cold war’ an era where conformity and obedience is a norm and anything that impairs it isn’t seen as a benefit to society. Both novels explore themes such as paranoia, suspicion and mental health. The Bell Jar has a significant opening with the first sentence that mentions the execution of the Rosenberg’s…

    • 480 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Bell Jar

    • 852 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The Bell Jar as a Controlling Image in The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar contains a constant reference to a bell jar that acts as a controlling image. The bell jar in the novel controls the novel in three ways. It acts as a symbol for the depression that Esther Greenwood, the central character, experiences. It also serves as a metaphor for her. Finally, it is the very illusion that drives her into depression. Esther Greenwood works for a fashion magazine in New York and lives a "dream…

    • 852 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    The Bell Jar

    • 2382 Words
    • 10 Pages

    Research Paper: The Bell Jar, By: Sylvia Plath Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is a work of fiction that spans a six month time period in the life of the protagonist and narrator, Esther Greenwood. The novel tells of Esther’s battle against her oppressive surroundings and her ever building madness, this is the central conflict throughout the narrative. After coming home from a month in New York as a guest editor for a magazine, Esther begins to have trouble with everyday activities such as reading,…

    • 2382 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Bell Jar

    • 606 Words
    • 3 Pages

    English 01A Silvia Plath’s The Bell Jar: A Book Review The Bell Jar is a semi-biographical novel of the life of Sylvia Plath, set in the 1950’s, the story follows the life of Esther Greenwood a college student from Massachusetts. Esther travels to New York with 11 other girls as guest editors for a magazine. In New York Esther battles with herself and social prejudices; she knows that she is in a seemingly ideal situation; however, she struggles with her ambitions of becoming a female writer in…

    • 606 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Bell Jar

    • 700 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Society often has its own rules and expectations a person should follow. Clearly stated in the novel, author of The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath addresses societal influence by exposing social pressures on people, particularly women. Esther Greenwood, the main character of the novel, is the victim of the heavy weight of other people's opinions; which in the end leads to her deteriorating mental instability. She attempts to live the life that is expected of her, but in the end she can not fulfill these…

    • 700 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Bell Jar

    • 788 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Confined By Expectation “The main point of the article was that a man's world is different from a woman's world and a man's emotions are different from a woman's emotions and only marriage can bring the two worlds and the two different sets of emotions together properly...This woman lawyer said the best men wanted to be pure for their wives, and even if they weren't pure, they wanted to be the ones to teach their wives about sex.” (Pg. 44-45) Esther feels confined because the principles of society…

    • 788 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays