In the Bell Jar, Plath explores the marginalization of women. Her fiction, grounded in her own experience, permeates with that experience, revealing not only her commentary, but positions devolved into their most rudimentary parts, as to give the reader a backdrop to view them in greater relief. Plath explores both the social and medical institutions that uphold the position of women, as well as an account of the internal struggle the position causes. The Bell Jar reads almost like a text book to the reader, listing what careers women are allowed to have, and how a woman may break the rules to pursue a career that is not customarily a proper one. Plath reveals gender inequalities while also revealing the extent to which a woman must go through if they are to pursue a highly paid career .Jay Cee was explained as being unattractive in the text. To take a position that is not often filled by a woman, women like Jay Cee must behave in the manner of the center.
[...] She has become a doctor despite her gender, and reveals to the reader what exactly it is that she has given up to become so. She is a lesbian, and thus is unmarried, having given up the entire position of a wife and mother. To the reader she at first appears to be a guerilla on the inside, secretly maintaining the resistance that made the women deserve being put inside the institution in the first place. Dr. Nolan laughs, and shouts, “Propaganda!” (Plath 222) at the lawyer in defense of Chastity. [...]
[...] The connection to the outside world could maintain a connection between patient and resistance, allowing the proverbial bell jar to life just enough for the treatments to become ineffective. The system they use instead, as Esther described, was to lift the Bell Jar right around the time of the Electro- shock therapy, to fool the patient into connecting with the altered thought pattern that the treatment causes, and not the resistance the patient connected with previously. The institution itself, and more so the doctors in it, are controlling factors in acculturation of the women stationed there, since they are the women who have spoken out against marginalized position. [...]
[...] The only way to succeed apart from the bell jar is to choose one, and for Esther this is not possible, and therefore it is not possible for Esther to exist outside the bell jar at all. Instead she becomes exactly what she despises in the beginning of the text; in essence, she has become a baby factory much like Dodo Conway. Silvia Plath plots the course of the marginalization of women in America. She reveals in depth methods that are used by the center to silence women who speak out. [...]
[...] Esther knew this as she walked through the threshold of the classroom; her dying was that part of herself which made her as intelligent and clever as any man. Receiving the highest marks in the class, she continued to attend the class as an audit, both serving as a silent protest to what the professor was doing to these female students, and herself. Plath also explores the behavior of assimilated women. Her focus on the Amazon Hotel enlightens the reader as to what assimilated women are doing to pursue their pseudo-careers as secretaries. [...]
[...] This was not the case. She felt as though there would be a great change with the loss of her virginity, that she would gain power by doing so. Instead, she knows this is not the case at the time of the loss, saying, all I felt was a sharp, startlingly bad pain.” ( Plath 229) There were indications earlier in the text that this would be the case. Lenny should've been the first indication to Esther that in reality it does not matter whether or not she can tap into sexual power, because if it does exist, that power is socially prescribed anyway and can be taken away at any point. [...]
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