Present the way in which imprisonment is presented in 'The Bell Jar' The bell jar is an inverted glass jar, generally used to display an object of scientific curiosity

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Present the way in which imprisonment is presented in ‘The Bell Jar’

The bell jar is an inverted glass jar, generally used to display an object of scientific curiosity, contain a certain kind of gas, or maintain a vacuum. For Esther, the bell jar symbolizes madness. When gripped by insanity, she feels as if she is inside an airless jar that distorts her perspective on the world and prevents her from connecting with the people around her. At the end of the novel, the bell jar has lifted, but she can sense that it still hovers over her, waiting to drop at any moment.

The narrative technique used in The Bell Jar is a first person narrative. Straight away we get the idea of imprisonment through elements of the unhappy narrative voice in the early chapters. The first sentence of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar alerts the reader to the conflicts that will be dealt with in this semi-autobiographical novel: "It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenberg’s, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York." The speaker will tell us in the next few sentences that she is "stupid" and that she feels "sick," and that she is preoccupied with death. Like Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye, this young, college age, girl-woman is experiencing an adolescent crisis. When Esther Greenwood tells us in the first sentence that this is "the summer they electrocuted the Rosenberg’s," we get a picture not only of that summer's being nauseating, sultry, and death-oriented, but that this young girl's attitudes and life experiences are also this way.

The task given to the reader is to try to figure out why Esther is so filled with conflict, so alienated. She herself says, "I was supposed to be having the time of my life." So why is she so miserable with her success? Why does she feel the need to invent another name for herself, "Elly Higginbottom"? Why does she try to be pals with Doreen? Why does Esther avoid her magazine work if she really does like her boss, Jay Cee? Does Esther really want to be a writer? What does Esther want from life? How does she really feel about herself and her world? Does she perceive reality correctly? What kind of change is she going through?

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There is contrast between what Esther inner voice is thinking and what she is saying. For example when she talks to Doctor Gordon and her voice reflects on her experience but her inner thoughts are completely different.**

Plath reveals and challenges the values of American society in several ways, these include; the sarcastic tone that Esther uses when talking about, ‘All American things’ challenges what is all American. The fig tree where Early in the novel, Esther reads a story about a Jewish man and a nun who meet under a fig tree. Their relationship is doomed, just as she ...

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The writer has gathered a good deal of interesting and potentially relevant material, but has missed many opportunities to present the material in a way which is firmly linked to the question. ***