"The Bell Jar" and Esther's Depression

Essay by low545High School, 11th gradeA, May 2004

download word file, 3 pages 4.3

Downloaded 33 times

In "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath the main character, Esther Greenwood, sinks into depression during the summer after her third year of college. There are many factors and components that cause this to happen to Esther. The social restrictions placed upon women of her time, her own insecurities over her identity, and the pressure she receives from all of her close ones. She felt like her mind and soul should be with her body so she decided to commit suicide. Outwardly, she appears successful and highly motivated, which contrasts sharply with her inner confusion and feelings of helplessness causing her dilemma to depress her even more.

Esther is a young, sensitive and intelligent woman who feels oppressed by the obvious social restrictions placed upon women, and the pressure she feels regarding her future. These emotional burdens result not only in Esther's social and intellectual separation, but also her mental breakdown.

Esther despises the superiority that men retain over women and the maternal role which women are expected to fulfill. Clearly, Esther is deeply troubled by the hypocritical world that holds her, and feels overwhelmed and powerless to break free of her inner world of isolation. Instead of firmly establishing a sense of self, Esther adopts and examines the images and personalities of the women in her life. Neither fit nor reflect her character

Obviously, it is Esther's insecurity over her identity that causes her to go with the personalities of others, but is also retains a deeper meaning. Her rejection and failure at conformity shows the harsh, the bitter, the unforgiving, and the sanctimonious world that torments her very existence. Not only does Esther feel rejected from social atmospheres, but also her intellectual atmosphere. It is Esther's imaginative mind that first illuminates part of her true identity and...