The Bell Jar Essay

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Sylvia Plath’s, The Bell Jar deals with themes of depression and early feminist viewpoints through the lense of Esther Greenwood, an interesting young adult dealing with the world independently for the first time in her life. Esther is forced to confront society’s harsh and unforgiving labels as she fights against misogyny and the depression that ultimately stems from it. The death of Esther’s father acts as a catalyst for the creation of her feminist mindset, which when re-introduced into society leads to her depression as she does not understand the rules of the patriarchy she must abide by. Plath uses Esther’s evasion of patriarchal influence through her father’s death to state without the restrictions of the patriarchy, women are able…show more content…
As Ether has not grown up under the rule of man, she is able to see opportunities such as pursuing poetry, teaching, etc. instead of immediately limiting herself to her housewife duties. She expresses this ability to access life through the notion of the fig tree, a tree ripe with figs and opportunities that await Esther, “ I saw myself sitting at the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind… I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest… the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet” (77). In direct result to the liberty Esther attained growing up without a paternal figure in her developmental years, Esther is able to create for herself a mindset in which she does not have to conform to the patriarchy. Instead of immediately growing up to become a mother and dutiful housewife, Esther is able to understand that she does not have to confine herself to these terms but instead may broaden her horizons and pursue many careers. However, when re-entering the patriarchy, as the options become fewer, and instead of being able to follow multiple dreams, Esther finds she must pick only one option out of many, leading to a depressive state as

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