A Summary Of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

2111 Words9 Pages
Literature is composed with many thoughts and ideas, the limitations are miniscule. For example, Sylvia Plath formulated her experiences and time period into a plot to compose her novel. As the book progresses, the protagonist provides insight on her journey and struggle to find happiness. In The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath utilizes an autobiographical protagonist to express purity versus impurity, as well as mind versus body in a world of double standards. Before one understands how Plath's experiences were influential upon her writing, it is crucial to know about her as an individual. Plath, born in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, on October 27th of 1932, was the daughter of Aurelia and Otto Plath (“The Bell”). Given her time period, Plath showed…show more content…
This novel “was published in London, England in January 1963” (“The Bell”) by Harper and Row. The book was published in England because Plath's mother, Aurelia, felt like the plot consisted of “ungrateful caricatures of people who tried to help her daughter.” (Scholes). The Bell Jar depicts “cultural alienation- and the resulting frustration- of talented women” (Johnson) and “is an important work by a major American writer” (Lowe-Evans). Although it was published in England, either years later the novel became very popular and widespread in America (Scholes). Now, The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath is known as a work of fiction by an American author. Unfortunately, Plath passed away shortly after her novel being published (“The Bell”), being unable to see how it took…show more content…
“The Bell Jar is an exploration of the divide between mind and body. This exploration unfolds most visibly in the development of Esther's mental illness” (“Mind”). An example of her mental illness taking over both her mind and body is when she states that “the person in the mirror was paralyzed and too stupid to do anything” (Plath 166). This example in specific shows the reader that her depression is making her feel numb and worthless in a sense. But because she is paralyzed there is nothing so can do about the depression to change how she feels. Essentially, Esther's depression symbolizes Plath’s depression. Their confinement to the feeling of depression is “largely mental” (“Mind”). In relation to the body, Esther sees it as a “inanimate” up until she concludes that it is “feeling flesh” (“Mind”). Lastly, when Esther and Plath underwent electroshock therapy, it opened up their mind and allowed for them to breath again (Lowe-Evans). The way in which Esther views the word pure, is the same way she views the word virgin and clean. For example, in the novel, she would bath because she felt like it cleansed her spirit. “The longer I lay there in the clear hot water the purer I felt” (Plath 22) says Esther. Yet another thing that Esther did that made her feel pure was drink vodka. She said that she had watched an ad before “and the vodka

More about A Summary Of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

Open Document