Literature Analysis Of The Novel “The Bell Jar” Sample Essay

In The Bell Jar, originally published under the pseudonym of Victoria Lucas,Sylvia Plath was recording much of her personal experience. Plath was born onOctober 27, 1932. Her brother, Warren Joseph Plath, was born in 1935. When Plathwas five years old, her family moved to Winthrop, Massachusetts, where she was amodel student.

However, in 1940, her father Otto Plath died of pneumonia andcomplications from diabetes. Plath won many awards, both local and national, forher writing in the years after her father’s death. During her teens, she met aclassmate named Richard Willard. Later, she dated his older brother, Buddy.

In1950, Sylvia Plath entered Smith College in Nothampton, Massachusetts. While shewas there, Buddy Willard asked her to the Yale prom. When Sylvia was twentyyears old, she won the Mademoiselle fiction contest, and during the summer of1953, she was a guest editor at Mademoiselle. Later that summer, Plath attemptedsuicide with sleeping pills. She was found and taken to Newton-WellesleyHospital. For the remaining part of that year, she resided at McLean Hospital inBelmont, Massachusetts, and was treated with insulin and electro-shock therapy.

In The Bell Jar, Plath does not write about her life after this point. Plathreturned to Smith and graduated in 1955. She moved to London, where she met TedHughes. She married him, and they returned to the U.S. in 1957. In the next twoyears, Ms. Plath held a hospital clerical position after she quit her instructorjob at Smith. She did this in order to devote more time to writing. The last fewyears of Sylvia Plath’s life were very busy. She moved back to England with herhusband and had a girl in the spring of 1960.

The following year was difficultbecause she had both a miscarriage and an appendectomy. In early 1962, she gavebirth to a baby boy, but a few months later, her husband left her. She thenmoved to London and wrote The Bell Jar. On February 11, 1963, Sylvia Plathcommitted suicide in her London home by turning on the gas jets. Sylvia sufferedfrom a lack of helpful support. There were no good support systems in her life.

Her mother did not understand her, and her father was dead. She had noattractive role models to follow, in her opinion. In the book, Esther does notwant to be like her mother and teach shorthand. Ms. Plath did not get much helpfrom the professional world. In her journal, she wrote that she was unable tosleep during the last winter that she lived in London. Her British doctorprescribed sleeping pills, “the cure-all for everything”. Sylvia Plathcould have well been a victim of multiple failures created by the historical erain which she lived. Until the 1970’s, American literature did not have a greatmany female heroines in its fiction works, and even fewer had been created byfemale authors.

In short, there were no woman writers creating women characterswho spoke their minds. The main year of Esther’s life in the story is 1953,before the popularity of the birth control pill, women’s liberation, and othersocial movements in the 1960’s. Esther reached maturity in the early 1950’s whenWomen’s roles were rigidly assigned. American women fell into two groups: thegood girls and the bad girls. The good girls married well and had two or threechildren. They cooked proper and nutritious meals while keeping the housespotless, and in their spare time, they would attend PTA meetings. The goodgirls made dutiful wives.

The bad girls, on the other hand, were sexy, bosomy,and blonde. They did not marry the proper men (doctors, lawyers, etc.). Therewas also a group of women who were not really considered women. They often heldlow-paying jobs, such as librarians and social workers. These women were bright,yet doomed in society because they did not try to get the attention of men.

The Bell Jar also gives the audience a quite moving and probably very accurateaccount of mental health treatment in the 1950’s. Electro-shock therapy was verycommon during that decade, but nowadays, it is only rarely used. In conclusion,during the time of the novel, there is clearly not much encouragement for womento be individual, to be different, and to be brave and daring. For this reason,Esther Greenwood was pushed to insanity, for society could not accept her.

The Future In 1984 By George Orwell

A utopia is an ideal or perfect community. While some writers have createdfictional places that embody their ideals societies, other writers have writtensatires that ridicule existing conditions of society, or anti-utopias, which showpossible future societies that are anything but ideal. In 1984 , George Orwellpresents a terrifying picture of future as life under the constant surveillance ofBig Brother. This book 1984 is an anti-utopian novel. The main character Winston Smith lives in the large political countryOceania, which is eternally at war with one of two huge countries, Eurasia andEastasia. At any moment all existing records show either that Oceania has alwaysbeen at war with Eurasia and allied with Eastasia, or that it has always been atwar with Eastasia and allied with Eurasia. Winston knows this, because his workat the Ministry of Truth involves the constant correction of news. Who controlsthe past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past, the partyslogan reads. Basically, Winston takes real news and twists it to what BigIn the grim city and terrifying country, where Big Brother is alwayswatching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind, Winston is aman in great danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Heknows the party controls people by feeding them lies and taking away theirimaginations. The Party forbids thought, love, and relationships. Drawn into asecret love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionaryorganization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his lover Julia, he puts his life on the line in a deadly match againstGeorge Orwell creates an anti-utopian society in the novel 1984 . Thesociety involves monitors called telescreens watching you every step you take, loveis forbidden, conformity, and your assigned to work at one of four ministries. Inthis society you cant enjoy life or have any fun. After reading the novel you hopethat the future wont be dreadful. When 1984 was new, and 1984 far in the future,the novel struck its most responsive readers as an unprecedented torment, anextreme and intolerable vision that stood out (Miller 19). The book makes the reader put their head up and question if this is how ourtime will end. Orwell creates a book where being different is illegal. In 1984Orwell is trying to present the kind of world in which individuality has becomeobsolete and personality is a crime (Howe 322). Imagine living in a societywhere if you expressed your own opinions or ideas you would be sent to a Ministryof Love where you would be tormented and corrupted. Living in Oceania doesntIn 1984 you see the Party kill Winston Smiths individuality. WinstonSmith, the hero of the novel, is shown arming himself with ideas against the Partyand defying it by forming a sexual relationship with Julia: but from the first weknow that he will not escape the secret police, and after he is caught we see himundergoing a dreadful metamorphosis which burns out his human essence, leavinghim a wreck who can go on living only by becoming on of them (Rahv 313). It issad that Winston cant overcome the power of the Party. It seems all faith in apleasant future will be stopped by the Party.

1984 s anti-utopian society is a horrible one. If the future is as dark asGeorge Orwell portray, lets hope we have individuals that will fight for a betterworld. Anti-utopian novels open up peoples eyes about life and existence.Howe, Irving The fiction of Anti-Utopia1984 (New York: Harcourt Brace Javonovich, Inc., 1982)Irving Howe. 1984 Revisited (New York: Harper and Row, Inc.,1983) Rahv, Phillip The Unfuture of UtopiaIrving Howe. 1984 Revisited (New York: Harper and Row, Inc.,1983)Bibliography:

Catcher In The Rye: Everybody’s A Phony

J. D. Salingers novel, The Catcher in the Rye, is a very well known piece of the twentieth century. Its a story about a seventeen-year-old boy, Holden Caufield, who experiences some interesting things and people upon his being expelled from Pencey Prep. School. From having breakfast with a couple of nuns on a bus, to spending an evening with a far from seraphic prostitute, Holden handles each situation the best way he can.

However, most of the people Holden encounters, he deems innately phony; Holden thinks almost everyone is a phony. Holden discusses how phony his headmaster at Elkton Hills, Mr. Haas, was when he was there:Mr. Haas was the phoniest bastard I ever met in my life . . .. On Sundays, for instance, old Haas went around shaking hands with everybodys parents when they drove up to school. Hed be charming as hell and all. Except if some boy had little old funny-looking parents. . . . I mean if a boys mother was sort of fat or corny-looking or something, and if somebodys father was one of those guys that wear those suits with big shoulders and corny black-and-white shoes, then old Haas would just shake hands with them and give half and hour with somebody elses parents (13-14).

To Holden, it was blatantly clear that Mr. Haas was just putting on act to please the parents who showed up. He thought that everyone should be himself and not wear stupid facades. Holden Caulfield lived in the Ossenburger Memorial Wing in his dormitory. That hall was only for juniors and seniors.

The dorms were named after this person named Ossenburger who also went to Pencey Prep. School a long time ago. After Ossenburger got out of Pencey, he made a lot of money in the undertaking business, and he gave a pittance to the school. That pittance is why the hall was named after him. Then the next morning, Ossenburger gave a speech to the students of Pencey Prep. about how he was never ashamed when he was in some kind of trouble, but he would get right down on his knees and pray to God, and that you should always talk to God wherever you are. Ossenburger said to think of God as your friend. Caulfield got a kick out of this speech thinking how he could Just see this phony bastard . . . asking Jesus to send him a few more stiffs(16-17).

Later, Holden went to this nightclub called Ernies. Holden was going there for a few drinks. Even though it was so late, the club was still packed. Ernie, the piano player, was playing some tune that Holden couldnt recognize. Ernie was putting all these dumb, show-offy ripples in the high notes, and all this other tricky stuff . . .(84) Yet, the crowd was going wild and crazy for Ernie. Holden thought that Ernies snobbish attitude was completely phony, but he still felt sorry for him. Next, Old Ernie turned around on his stool and gave this very phony, humble bow (84).

Holden doesnt even think that Ernie knows if hes playing the correct tunes or not anymore. Holden absolutely despises the movies, especially a phony audience watching a movie. He had gone to see a movie, and it was a really sappy one at that. It started off with some guy, Alec, limping out of a hospital not knowing his own identity. He meets a nice girl on a bus, and theyre both carrying a copy of Dickenss Oliver Twist. They both fall in love. Theyre about to be married when another girl, Marcia, shows up. Marcia was Alecs fiance before his accident.

The other girl tells Alec to go with Marcia, and he does. But his memory doesnt return until hed hit on the head with a cricket ball. And by then, Alec forgot about the poor nice girl he had fallen in love with. Holden was about ready to puke: the movie was so sappy! However, what made it worse was the lady, mesmerized by the film, sitting next to Holden who cried throughout the entire movie. One would assume that this lady was crying because she was kindhearted.

Holden thought that she was about as kindhearted as a wolf (139). She had a young boy with her, her child, he presumes, and the kid had to go to the bathroom. But the lady wouldnt take him until the movie was over. She kept telling the child to sit down and shut-up. Holden concluded that if you take somebody who cries their goddamn eyes out over phony stuff in the movies, nine times out of ten theyre mean bastards at heart (140).

Next, Holden discourses about two French babes he once saw perform in the Wicker Bar within the swanky, Seton Hotel. Tina would play the piano and Janine would sing along. Most of the songs were either pretty dirty or in French too. They werent being real; Janine, a true phony, would always whisper into the microphone before each song:”And now we like to geeve you our impression of Vooly Voo Fransay. Eet ees the story of a leetle Fransh girl who comes to a beeg ceety, just like New York, and falls een love wees a leetle boy from Brookleen. We hope you like eet (142).

When Janine was done with all the whispering and being cute as hell, shed sing a dopey song, half in French and half in English, and drive all the phonies in the place mad with joy (142).

Even the nice teachers on the faculty at Pencey Prep. were phonies too. Mr. Spencer, one of Holdens favorites, only turned phony when he was being watched. For example, when Headmaster Thurmer observed Spencers class, Spencer was a complete phony. Hed crack the corniest jokes for the entire half and hour of observation. Spencer would practically kill himself chuckling and smiling and all, like as if Thurmer was a goddamn prince or something (168).

All Holden wanted was for people to be real; the world is full of phonies, and Holden knew this. He planned to maybe return home when he was thirty-five or so, in case someones dying wish was to see him. He would allow his younger sister to visit him during the summer and on Christmas and Easter vacation. And D.B., Caulfields older brother the writer, could visit him if he needed a nice quiet place to write, but he couldnt write movies, only stories and books. And anyone else could visit Holden too, as long as they followed his rule which stated that nobody could do anything phony when they visited me. If anybody tried to do anything phony, they couldnt stay (205).

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