Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar: a Mirror of American Fifties
AbstractWith its portrayal of a talented yet frustrated young American woman in the 1950s, Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar (1963) depicts the experiences of a nineteen-year-old girl before her mental breakdown. Benefitting from a Friedanian second wave feminism, this paper aims to trace the root of disappointment and identity crisis in Plath's heroine, Esther Greenwood. It is understood that besides being a personal issue, her frustration is the outcome of sociocultural factors. The lack of role models and the contradictory messages sent by the media lead to her anxiety, disillusionment, and uncertainty. The Bell Jar proposes a solution: it is indeed possible for a woman to hold a fulfilling career and at the same time be a caring wife and a loving mother. And this is the answer Esther tries to figure out at a time when the boundaries between the domestic sphere and the outside world are clearly defined for women.
Bawer, B. (2007). Sylvia Plath and the poetry of confession. in H. Bloom (Ed.), Bloom's modern critical views: Sylvia Plath (pp.7-20). New York: Infobase Publishing.
Bloom, H. (Ed.). (2009). Bloom's guides: Sylvia Plath's The bell jar. New York: Infobase Publishing.
Donne, J. (1633). A valediction: Forbidding mourning. In M. H. Abrams et al (Eds.). The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Vol. 1. 8th ed. New York: W, W. Norton & Company.
Friedan, B. (1974 ). The feminine mystique. New York: Dell Publishing Co., INC.
Ghandeharion, A. & Feyz, M. (2014). Desperate housewives in Albee's who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? Analele Universităţii Ovidius din Cons-tanţa. Seria Filologie, 25(1), 12-21.
Ghasemi, P. (2004). Sylvia Plath's self-portrayal: The issue of double consciousness. Journal of the Faculty of Letters and Humanities. Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, No. 14, 51-68. Noor Magazine. Stable URL: http://www. noormags.com/view/fa/articlepage/314624 accessed: April 22, 2014.
Gilbert, S. M. (1978). A fine, white flying myth: confessions of a Plath addict". The Massachu-setts Review. 19(3), 585-603. JSTOR Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25088890 accessed: Nov. 25, 2014
Gill, J. (2008). The Cambridge introduction to Sylvia Plath. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kittay, E. F. (1997). Woman as Metaphor. In D. Tietjens Meyers (Ed.), Feminist social thought: A reader (265-285). New York: Routledge.
Perloff, M. G. (1972). A ritual for being born twice: Sylvia Plath's the bell jar. Contemporary Literature. University of Wisconsin Press, 13(4), 507-522. Stable URL: http://www.jstor. org/stable/1207445
Plath, S. (1971 ). The bell jar. New York: Bantam Books, Published by Arrangement with Harper & Row, Publishers.
Smith, C. J. (2010). The feeding of young women: Sylvia Plath's the bell jar, mademoiselle magazine, and the domestic ideal. College Literature. 37(4)., 1-22. JSTOR Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27917762 Accessed: 09/05/2014
Valenti, J. (2009). The purity myth: How America's obsession with virginity is hurting young women. Berkeley: Seal Press.
Sabbagh, M. R. G., & Bozorgian, F. (2015). The bell jar: A study in characterization, figure, and ground. In 2nd Conference on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Language Teaching, Literature and Translation Studies, 113-122.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License