Gender Roles In The Bell Jar

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How do the gender roles present in society impact a person? There are many negative ways gender roles influence a person 's mental and emotional state. In The Bell Jar, Silvia Plath presents Esther Greenwood who struggles to find her place in society due to gender roles. And Doreen who doesn’t follow them and is okay with it. Throughout the book, specifically chapters seven to nine, Plath makes it clear that gender roles negatively impact a person 's mental state through the use of many stylistic and persuasive elements.

One of the devices Plath uses is symbolism. The fig tree is an important symbol in chapter seven. Esther describes it as, “the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children and another was fig was a poet and another was a brilliant professor” (). By describing the different figs, Plath shows how Esther thought about all the different choices. She knew she didn’t want to get married but the society pushed her to get married to someone like Buddy. That is why when Buddy proposed in chapter eight, and Esther said “‘I’m never going to get married…No. My mind is made up’” (), Buddy’s expression didn’t change because he knew she would have to follow the gender roles. It proves Plath’s claim because Esther couldn’t decide what to do and it had an impact on her later decisions about suicide. Symbolism is effective because Plath describes the choices Esther was faced with and
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