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The Bell Jar Written by Sylvia Plath

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The Bell Jar The novel The Bell Jar, written by Sylvia Plath, was published by Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. in 1971 and consists of 244 pages. It tells the story of a brilliant, beautiful, and talented young woman named Esther Greenwood. After past experiences, Esther gradually breaks down and becomes suicidal. This report will elaborate on Esther's illness and what drove her to insanity, as well as opinions of this classic novel.

In the beginning of the novel, Esther Greenwood, a college student with a personality of wanting to stand out from everyone else, is telling of her past experience of the summer when she went to New York. In that summer, a family was electrocuted and Esther explains how the idea of being electrocuted makes her sick. She sees the execution in the tabloids wherever she goes and can't help but wonder what it would feel like "being burned alive along your nerves". Esther is able to go to New York because she wins a fashion magazine contest, along with 12 other girls, by writing essays and poems. For winning the contest, the girls received jobs writing for magazines, tickets to ballets and shows, admission to parties, and dinners to high class restraints. As she spends a month in New York working for a lady named Jay Cee, she meets a girl named Doreen. Doreen is Esther's roommate at the hotel and throughout the month, they become good friends.

As she tells of her experiences in New York, she also reminisces about her memories of college. One of the main people she remembers is Buddy Willard, a boy that Esther has a crush on in college. They become friends, but Buddy becomes sick with TB and while Esther is in New York she visits him. He asks her to marry him but with Esther's negative views on marriage, she declines. Esther had many little adventures in New York such as getting food poisoning from a banquet and being harassed by men at parties but when she left New York,

she was different. She had a wonderful time in New York and when her last night at the hotel came, she realized that she did not care about the free gifts she received and discards of most of them. When she had to leave, she was very depressed not only because she had fun during the trip but also because of everything that had happened to her. But she remembered that she had written a paper to try to get in a class at the college she attends.

When she arrives at her mother's house, Esther learns from her mother that she did not make it into the college program. Esther then begins to wonder what she will do with her life. Through out the New York trip, she ponders on what job she will do. She always ends up thinking of at least 16 different jobs, but is unable to decide on what she wants the most. The one thing Esther was good at (winning prizes, scholarships, and contest) had just been demolished. She comes up with ideas of what to do with her life but nothing seems to suit. For the next month, Esther cannot do anything she used to. She cannot write, read, or sleep and she will not wash her hair because she sees it as meaningless.



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