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Bell Jar

  • Date Submitted: 05/31/2010 08:14 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 72.3 
  • Words: 899
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Between Life and Death
Do you wonder how it would feel to have a mental illness and a horrific disease? When people hear the name Sylvia Plath the first thing that comes to mind is her mental illness. There is more than just her mental illness, she expresses herself by writing descriptive poems and novels. In her novel The Bell Jar and her poem “Lady Lazarus” Sylvia Plath uses imagery to show oscillation between life and death.
        In the novel The Bell Jar Plath uses imagery to express Esther’s indecisiveness between life and death. For example the bell jar of her illness traps her, and everything seems sour. Esther plans to leap from the car and jump from the bridge when they cross the Charles River, but her mother and brother sit on either side of her and grasp the door handles so she cannot make a move. She admits to herself that even if her family had not been there, she probably would have refrained from jumping.
“If Mrs. Guinea had given me a ticket to Europe, or a round-the-world  
            cruise, it wouldn’t have made one scrap of difference to me, because
            wherever I sat—on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or
Bangkok—I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar stewing in my own sour air.” (185)
Plath introduces the symbol of the bell jar. Esther explains that no matter where she goes, she exists in the hell of her own mind. She is trapped inside herself, no matter how new and exciting anything can be, she is still trapped. The bell jar separates her from the people she could care about. Plath’s association of her illness with a bell jar suggests her feeling that madness descends on her without her control. Another example of the bell jar would be when Esther is going to get out of the hospital and she is remembering all of the obstacles that she went through to get her to this point in her life. Her mom explains it to her as a bad dream and she should overcome it. But Esther keeps remembering atrocious...


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