Symbolism And Symbolism In Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

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“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop,” a quote Confucius once wrote. The meaning behind this quote is found within Sylvia Plath’s award winning novel, The Bell Jar. The main character within Plath’s novel is on a journey to find herself and heal her mind. Esther Greenwood suffers from a mental illness, depression, and is struggling to find happiness. Symbolism is heavily used throughout Plath’s novel to emphasize a greater meaning behind Esther’s mental illness. The bell jar, the fig tree, mirrors, and electricity all symbolize what occurs in Esther’s head. The first symbol within The Bell Jar is the bell jar itself. The bell jar symbolizes mental illness, and a trap within the mind and body. The bell jar refers to suffering from a mental…show more content…
Electricity symbolizes the connections between the characters. “We all seem to be connected by electricity in this world, all of us intertwined” (Plath). Esther also had a connection to electricity when she was going through therapy. She used shock therapy to try and help her depression, but it was not successful. “Misapplied shock therapy resulted in the failure of Esther” (Tsank). The shock therapy brought back flashbacks of Esther’s childhood, when she was electrocuted by accident. The electrocution as a child signals ahead to Esther’s experience with shock therapy (Shmoop). The symbolism within Plath’s The Bell Jar allows the reader to look beyond the surface, and connect with Esther. The bell jar, the fig tree, the mirror, and electricity all relate to Esther’s mental illness and elaborate on her growth and development. Plath’s novel uses an abundance of literary devices to engage the reader, however her use of symbolism creates a deeper meaning behind Esther’s battle with a mental illness. Symbolism is an important aspect in writing, and Sylvia Plath uses that to her advantage to connect her audience to Esther, and appeal to their
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