Reviewing Sylvia Plaths The Bell Jar English Literature Essay

Many times throughout Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, Esther Greenwood, the narrator, looks in the mirror and feels inadequate in her looks, her knowledge, or in different ways. Because of Esther's mental health issues, readers and experts of this Bell Jar begin to look at the change of the way she perceives herself; Esther's self-image began poorly at the start of the book and deteriorates throughout the book therefore creating a rise in her unhappiness.

The starting views that Esther perceives herself as are that she didn't look as very as the other females who had been on the internship in New York with her, and she also describes her tan to be faded away, which made her look as "yellow as a Chinaman" (9). These comparisons that Esther makes between her skin and your skin of a man show that she doesn't have a positive self-image. Also, Esther will not see herself as just any man but a minority that is often discriminated against. Immediately after she explains her faded tan and the rest of herself, she and Doreen have a night time on the town with Lenny, a man that they had just found that nights. By the end of the night time, Esther has to walk back to the hotel room by itself drunk. Therefore, her poor self-image has led her to make poor selections, such as departing the group of interns with bizarre men. After making those poor choices, Esther displays over herself more.

In the elevator, she perceives her representation in the doorways, and again, she compares her facial figures to a minority, "I noticed a big, smudgy-eyed Chinese girl staring idiotically into my face. It was only me, of course. I used to be appalled to see how wrinkled and used up I seemed" (20). Her self-perception diminishes yet again; she not only considers herself as a Chinese men but a Chinese woman. Esther perceives herself as a minority that is often discriminated against even more than a male minority would be, which shows that even throughout one nighttime, Esther's self-image transforms into something she feels is more and more limited. However, her night of self-reflecting is not over.

Later that evening in her accommodation, Esther represents when looking in the reflection that "the mirror over my bureau felt slightly warped and much too silver. The face in it looked like the representation in a ball of dentist's mercury" (21). The image of mercury is linked to another incidence in the novel when Esther knocks the tray of thermometers off of her foundation and gathers "a ball of mercury" (204). The self-image of mercury could be foreshadowing of the progression of Esther's mental illness. However, in the reflection, Esther does not see herself as the ideal image she aspires to be, and because she does not see herself in a positive way, this implies that her judgment and credibility as a narrator are influenced. Because her judgment is not at its potential, Esther could make poor options, such as heading off in the night with peculiar men. After realizing that she makes those poor alternatives, Esther could then begin to get caught in a downward spiral of guilt and poor self-image, making more poor selections, etc. The downward spiral could then make her depression and self-image worse.

After breaking down in front of the professional photographer and Jay Cee, Esther looks in the reflection and illustrates what she considers, "The face that peered again at me appeared to be peering from the grating of the jail cell after an extended beating. It searched bruised and puffy and all the wrong colors, " (114). Again, Esther identifies her self-image as being insufficient, and soon after she is attacked by Marco at the united states club. After she leaves New York, Esther looks in the reflection again and thought that "The face in the mirror looked like a tired Indian, " (125). This example of thinking about self-image shows that Esther seems that she was not as valuable as she was before as a result of assault from Marco, and the grades of blood he left on her behalf alluded to warfare paint utilized by Indians. Soon after this, Esther slips further into depressive disorder.

Esther's despair leads her into considering committing suicide, and one of the options she contemplates is slitting her wrists with a razor cutter and hemorrhage out into a bathroom. However, when Esther appears in the mirror endeavoring to make herself commit suicide this way, she cannot because, "the person in the mirror was paralyzed and too stupid to do a thing" (165). Her thoughts of stupidity and paralysis show that her self-image is still poor, where she will not feel that she sufficient enough to commit suicide. After Esther overdoses on sleeping pills which is shifted to a hospital, she looks in the reflection and is so displeased using what she saw that she throws the mirror down and breaks it (195). By breaking the mirror, Esther could have been displaying that her self-image was completely shattered and would have to be rebuilt, which might or might not have happened throughout the rest of her life.

In Plath's The Bell Jar, Esther commences with a low self-esteem and an unhealthy self-image; a poor self-image combined with the increasing sense of inadequacy and rejection creates a snowball effect that leads Esther into mental health issues and unhappiness. By experiencing how Esther's poor self-image afflicted her mental stableness, it can benefit encourage other young women to view themselves in a much better light as well as help those around them that they see are battling.

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