She leaves a note saying she is taking a long walk, then crawls into the cellars and swallows about 50 sleeping pills that had been prescribed for her. By the time of her death, Plath was living in London during one of the coldest winters in 100 years. Then, for the rest of the day, she cooks, cleans, and takes care of the children. Tomolillo points and whispers to the doctors about Esther and asks the doctors to close the bed-curtain between them, which they do. The feelings of inadequacy she possess are also a direct result of the forces-she does not blame as the cause of her illness- that contribute to her clinical depression. In the novel, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath it unveils a woman's downhill spiral into a dark place. When she hears Esther tried to commit suicide, she stops conversing with Esther.
Its goals are self-determination of body, mind, and financial state. In this context, the introduction of Joan specifically as a lesbian becomes very important. In the midst of the burgeoning feminist movement in the U. This has been the primary clientele of psychiatry from its founding. If anything, her dissatisfaction with her life is a manifestation of her illness. They wanted success in their careers, homes, and for themselves personally.
She has difficulty explaining the problem clearly enough to get emergency aid, a problem which of course increases the danger to Esther, but a pun seems more important here than prompt medical assistance. The sense of foreboding felt less palpable than I had remembered and I was able to appreciate some of the wry humour that Plath uses. This is the direct result of the loss of support from a loved one, the lack of support and encouragement, and lack of self confidence and insecurity in Esther's life in the The Bell Jar. The Bell Jar vividly illustrates that collusion by proposing, through its representation of Esther's recovery, an ideal of a self uncontaminated by others. Guinea had given me a ticket to Europe, or a round-the-world cruise, it wouldn't have made one scrap of difference to me, because wherever I sat -- on the deck of a ship or at a street. Massive amounts of propaganda made them believe that if they had sexual feelings--especially if they acted on them--they were bad, and were called fallen women, and they would never experience marital bliss. Despite the brief liberation during the war, Esther feels that a woman cannot have it all and embrace both marriage and career.
If, as Jung has taught us, the baby is an archetypal symbol of the self in crisis, then the image of the pickled baby, along with the images of dismembered body parts, accurately conveys the nature of Esther's crisis: each of the various paths open to her will require that she dispense with, leave undeveloped, some important part of herself. The presentation and significance of moments when light and dark imagery are brought to the fore. When we are well, wrapped up in our serotonin blankets we see our existences as busy and fruitful. Esther finds Doreen's confident persona enticing but also troublesome, as she longs for the same level of freedom but knows such behavior is frowned upon. For many of her readers, particularly women, Plath's life and death became a symbolic narrative of the oppression of women.
Clearly, it was only in poetry and in her own self-tortured darkness that Plath found a place for herself. In the 1999 film, , main character Kat Stratford is seen reading The Bell Jar. While the primary thrust of Plath's political critique in The Bell Jar is focused on the specific conditions of women's oppression in 1950s America, the novel clearly places this personal narrative in the larger historical and political context of the Cold War and McCarthyism. The majority of early readers focused primarily on autobiographical connections from Plath to the protagonist. Initially, she may have felt fulfilled to have her two babies, one a girl and one a boy, but her poetry and The Bell Jar give us too many negative images of the burdens of cleaning up after puking infants to make us believe that this could ever have been an accepted, part-of-motherhood job for Plath.
Within a few years, women would protest the Miss America Pageant, organize child-ins, fight for equal pay and demand the right to choose. Outside of the magazine world, Esther seeks an escape from sexist double standards, but finds instead violence and the constant threat of rape. Though Neurotic Poets recounts the biography of Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar reveals a more personal struggle with clinical depression. I want to suggest that there may be a kind of psychic dismemberment signified by the separation of self thus from one's nurturers; denying their influence is like peeling off layers of her own self--or cutting off important members. Images of Madness and Retrieval: An Exploration of Metaphor in The Bell Jar.
If she never gave herself to mourning, as her mother never did according to Plath's accounts of the tearless funeral , Plath, like a narcissistic person, never even gave herself wholly to her youthful desires. Esther decides to take control of her life and is once more determined to go to college. That possibility is named by Dr. Her desire to die rather than live a false life can be interpreted as noble, and the gradual steps she takes back to sanity seem dignified. At Smith College, Sylvia Plath received a scholarship donated by Olive Higgins Prouty, the novelist and author of Stella Dallas, who later became a friend and patron for Plath, thus paralleling the relationship between the fictional philanthropist and Esther Greenwood. Of all the authors I read at that time, Plath resonated most deeply, reminding me of another doomed heroine, Marilyn Monroe. Women being placed in a constricted role in society live as if in a bell jar, able to see the outside world of exciting work and self-determined men, but unable to live it.
Gordon, whom Esther mistrusts because he is attractive and seems to be showing off a picture of his charming family rather than listening to her. But, I was already aware several decades after the book was written, that my fate didn't have to be the same. Instead of holding tight to her original identity however, becoming like everyone around her is the only way she can end her breakdown. Esther almost continuously feels that her reactions are wrong, or that she is the only one to view the world as she does, and eventually she begins to feel a sense of unreality. In the first stanza silver bells are introduced. Her attempt fails, and a rich older lady who was a fan of Esther's writing agrees to pay for treatment in a center that does not believe in shock therapy as a method for treating the ill. Another factor that contributes to her accruing discomfort is her unclear plan for her future.
The more I read, the more claustrophobic Plath's work became. Life began to imitate art as I slid into depression too. He does not listen to her, and prescribes a traumatic and unhelpful shock therapy treatment. The novel was published under Plath's name for the first time in 1967 and was not published in the United States until 1971, in accordance with the wishes of both Plath's husband, , and her mother. She created and enjoyed it, but she never found a workroom which she was comfortable in, and enjoyed, and the world never showed her a better place to be.