"The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath.

Essay by lala May 2003

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The Bell Jar, written by Sylvia Plath in the 1960s, is described as a coming-of-age novel; it narrates the protagonist's journey, from a cynical, listless young woman to an independent, rejuvenated woman. Esther Greenwood is one of the few elite females who receives a scholarship to college and an internship at a magazine, yet she still feels empty and unhappy. "I buried my face in..;. Jay Cee's loveseat and with immense relief the salt tears and miserable noises that had been prowling around in me all morning burst into the room" (102). Esther describes her first of many breakdowns, which occurs when she and the other girls are in the middle of a photo shoot. She cries because every other girl in her group seems to have their career set, but she feels so lost and indecisive, and as a result, she breaks down in public. Continuing her path of self-destruction, she tries many times to commit suicide, and at one point, she almost succeeds.

"...as I approached the bottom of the bottle, red and blue lights began to flash before my eyes. The bottle slid from my fingers and I lay down" (169) Esther makes an attempt to kill herself by taking many pills. She is so lost and depressed that she truly believes that taking the pills to kill herself is the answer. She starts to feel the effects of the drugs as lights flash, and she passes out. After the climax, she begins on a long journey through a number of hospitals to get better. "'I'll go,' I said, and I did go, and all during the simple funeral service I wondered what I thought I was burying" (242). While Esther is in the hospital, she is reunited with her friend, Joan, who eventually hangs herself. Plath...