Symbolism In The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

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The Bell Jar, written by the Sylvia Plath, follows Ester Greenwood’s decent into and recovery from madness. Esther is a young and brilliant writer, whose ambitions are stunted by a crippling depression. Plath, through Esther, describes an outlook on reality that is distorted by mental illness through the symbolism of the fig tree and the bell jar. Indirect characterization of Esther also gives a perspective of this distorted reality. Though she wants to move forward, her state of mind holds her back. Mental illnesses give one a distorted perception of the world, inhibiting one’s ability reach outside of themselves and move forward Obviously the bell jar is a the most major symbol, represented in the novel. Literal bell jars are glass jar shaped like a bell, often used in laboratories, for they create a vacuum inside, practically making the environment within the jar airless. The symbol for the bell jar is one of the most appropriate ways Plath does, and ever could, describe a distorted reality created when people with depression fall within themselves. Although, the bell jar is not mentioned till much later, it is appropriately within the…show more content…
She imagines her life as the green fig in the story and at the end of each branch sees a purple fig representing a future she can have. She also sees herself sitting and starving, but she is too indecisive, so all the figs began to wrinkle and go black and fall at her feet (Plath 77). Esther had an emotional and physical motive to reach out for a fig, or, symbolically, a future, but paralyzed, she lets her opportunities waste away. Her depressive state makes her lose the will to try and achieve one of the future possibilities. The fig tree is a creative symbol of Esther’s possible opportunities, however, her lack of will to try makes the point
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