A Streetcar Named Desire And The Bell Jar Analysis

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Throughout Tennessee William’s ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’ feminine ideals of appearance are associates with ablutions and bathing. This is due to the view of water having renewing properties, the mental health associations of bathing within both texts, and the patriarchal view of feminine appearances. In William’s and Plath’s literary works, water is depicted as having renewal properties in the central feminine characters of both plots. In the character of Blanche DuBois this is most notable when she exclaims, “Oh, I feel so goof after my long, hot bath, I feel so good and cool and – rested!”. Blanche’s frequent baths, along with the excessive amount of time spent in the bathroom within the play, exemplify her attempts at purifying herself from the events of past and present. This is further demonstrated when Blanche says: “A hot bath and a long, cold drink always gives me a brand-new outlook on life!”. Similarly, in Plath’s principal character of Esther Greenwood, the act of bathing presents itself as a means of renewal: “The longer I lay there in the clear hot water the purer I felt, and when I stepped out at last and wrapped myself in one of the big, soft white hotel bath towels I felt pure and sweet as a new baby”. Esther’s fascination with purifying herself likens itself to a religious ritual. Saadia El Karfi notes that whilst Esther does not acknowledge her bathing rituals as religious there is a “comparison of the feeling she feels in
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