Document Type



Bachelor of Arts in English


James Tackach, Ph.D.


Slyvia Plath's novel The Bell Jar (1963) examines the life of Esther Greenwood and the journey she takes through the 1950's gender landscape. Esther is unlike many women of her time, who were often content with their station in life as mothers and homemakers. Throughout the novel Esther seeks to find a strong and independent female role model with whom she could identify, but she is often disappointed with the women she encounters. Esther also struggles with male patriarchy, a dominant force in 1950's American society. The Bell Jar is often seen as a novel wrought with mental hardship and struggle with seemingly no hope for Esther; however it is arguable that Esther does survive her battle with depression and is able to continue on with a strong sense of self and purpose, as she states so clearly in the novel, "I am, I am, I am."