Major Depressive Disorder In The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

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Esther Greenwood, the protagonist of The Bell Jar, was a promising young woman who had her whole life ahead of her. The Bell Jar, written by Sylvia Plath, was set in 1953. The novel tells the story of Esther Greenwood, a bright nineteen year-old who was about to embark into adulthood and make her way to becoming a successful writer. Esther had everything that one could ever wish for, an above average IQ, a prestigious internship in New York City and she was enrolled in a college, which was rare for women at that time. However, things do not always go as planned and Esther found her life spiralling downwards as she began to display symptoms of major depressive disorder.
Even from the beginning of the novel, Esther had begun displaying symptoms that meet the DSM-5 criteria for Major Depressive Disorder. Even though she was living in the glamorous New York City, Esther was in a depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day. She could not help but feel
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The readers managed to get an inside look of Esther’s thoughts and feelings as the narrative is detailed and intimate. As the reader, I was able to emphasize with her and the writing allowed us to experience the helplessness and emptiness first hand. Esther’s presentation of major of depression was written eloquently as Plath did not hide her character’s major flaws, and she still humanizes Esther, something that is very rare in fiction as most characters with depression tend to be portrayed as “crazy” or not entirely “human”. Sylvia Plath herself was also diagnosed with depression and The Bell Jar is considered as the fictionalized account of her own clinical depression. Esther’s downwards spiral into depression was parallel to Plath’s own descend into depression. Readers will be able to gain a thorough understanding for major depression as the depiction was honest and personal to Plath

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