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 illness, and not being able to find a way to escape. “I feel as if I am trapped within the bell jar, and there is no way to escape” (Plath). Esther feels that the bell jar holds her back from being who she truly is, and who she wants to be. One cannot grow in a place of confinement, and this is the mindset that Esther has throughout the book. “Growth is necessary with any mental illness, to be able to take a step forward is the greatest success any person with a mental illness can have” (Tsank). While Esther in trapped in the bell jar, she cannot experience character development. Character development is essential on the journey, but she is stuck within the same place for most of the book. Although the bell
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