The Bell Jar

Written by: Sylvia Plath

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Setting

The main action of the story took place in New York City during the summer of 1953. Esther ended up in Boston, her hometown, and its surrounding suburbs later in the novel.

Problem

The main character, Esther Greenwood, feels isolated from society and discouraged about what her future looks like. She becomes depressed due to feeling pressured to meet social expectations of a woman. Esther's life is threatened many times due to sexual encounters and assaults. This causes her become suicidal, and she is later put into a mentally ill institution. However, at the end of the novel her depression difficulties drastically improve. She has the privilege to have a exit interview, which will determine if she will be allowed to leave the institution and return home.

Main Characters

Esther Greenwood:

Buddy Willard

Mrs. Greenwood (Esther's Mother)

Joan Gilling

Mrs. Willard

Dr. Nolan

Dr. Gordon

Doreen

Jay Cee

Philonea Guinea

Constantin

Marco

Eric

Irwin

DoDo Conway

Ms. Norris

Valerie

Dee Dee

My Responses

I really liked that this novel is for high school students, because the main idea is very relevant to our lives in many ways. Most people would be very surprised how many high school students experience these same challenges that Esther encountered. This novel really showed me that even if you have struggles in life such as, not feeling as if you are accepted by society, you can overcome those challenges. Most teenage kids don't know how to cope with the difficulties in their lives, and end up doing harmful things to themselves and their peers.

My Favorite Part in the Bell Jar

I really enjoyed the part in the novel where Esther Greenwood has the privilege to enter her exit interview. Her exit interview will be what determines if she is ready to leave the institution. This portion of the novel is one my favorite parts, because after the struggles Esther encountered she finally received help and overcame her depression. Even though she wanted to end her life she realized that life is so much more than being depressed about not being socially excepted. I look up to the individuals who overcome adversity, and as a result become a bigger and better human being.
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