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Analysis of Esther in Bell jar

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Introduction

How effectively does Plath represent Esther's 'Mind under stress' through her New York experiences? Plath presents to us a young woman going through a difficult time of an unstable mental health alongside with the burden of a perfect educational record during the mid nineties in the novel 'The Bell Jar'. Esther's 'mind under stress' is highlighted throughout the novel by Plath through her various experiences in New York and her narration of them. In her evening out with Doreen, Plath brings forward Esther's difficulty with socialising to the reader. Esther uses a fake identity, calling herself 'Elly Higginbottom' and finds herself feeling 'safer' here we see her insecurities about socialising being highlighted. The fact that she feels 'safer' when under a fake identity gives the reader the impression of schizophrenia in Esther's personality as well as the idea that Esther feels she cannot experience anything exciting with her own identity. Esther's insecurities are further explored as the night goes on and the girls go back to Lenny's place. ...read more.

Middle

Her introductions to 'titbits' and the reference to the fact that she was constantly reminded about the price of food in her childhood reveals that it is this poverty, in which she was unable to enjoy not only the expensive food, but food in her own home, that now drives her obsession with the luxurious foods she is presented with at the Ladies' day lunch. Esther described her sickness, after being food poisoned, in a graphical way. The description of the toilet as a 'torture-chamber' gives the idea of terrible suffering in an enclosed space, The impressions of claustrophobia are given here, also highlighted as the walls 'closed in' and 'squeezed' Esther into pieces as she was sick in the bathroom. Plath also brings Esther's mind under stress through her experiences with men. We notice that Esther takes an instant liking to Constantine, she refers to the happiness she felt whilst she was with her father. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, the use of the 'ashes' symbolise Esther's old being in New York, the one that she is leaving behind, that is now dead - further highlighted by the use of 'dark' in the description of New York, as if it may engulf you in its darkness, with connotations of death as well as evil. The personification used in this part of the novel emphasises the extent that New York and its experiences have affected Esther; people can physically and mentally harm a person, just as New York has done to her. Esther's Experiences in New York evidently show Esther's regression into an unhealthy mental state. Plath presents to us her naked inner feelings and reactions to difficult and uncomfortable situations which are intriguing to the reader, showing the extent to which her mind is under stress. We notice, in particular, her constant state of paranoia throughout these experiences and as a result the fact that she is an unreliable narrator is stressed. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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