The Bell JarThe Bell Jar
Essay submitted by Jen
People’s lives are shaped through their success and failure in their personal relationships with each other. The author Sylvia Plath demonstrates this in the novel, The Bell Jar. This is the direct result of the loss of support from a loved one, the lack of support and encouragement, and lack of self confidence and insecurity in Esther’s life in the The Bell Jar. It was shaped through her success and failures in her personal relationships between others and herself.
Through life, we often lose someone we loved and cared deeply for and supported us through life. This is demonstrated by the loss of a loved one when Esther’s father died when she was nine. My German speaking father, dead since I was nine came from some manic-depressive hamlet in the Prussia. (Sylvia Plath page 27.) Esther’s father’s death had showed that she was in need of a father figure for love, support and to act as a model for her life. Esther grew up with only the one influence of a parent, her mother.
Often times the loss of a friendship can be a great loss of support and confidence within our lives because we can lose them forever. This is demonstrated when Buddy Willard Esther’s boyfriend break up. He told me that his annual fall chest x-ray showed he had caught tuberculosis…in the Adirondacks (Sylvia Plath pg. 58.) Buddy and Esther break up due to the fact that he was not very honest with her in many ways. He did not have the courage to admit to a certain side of his character and not only that Buddy was diagnosed with an illness but he had other relationships aside from Esther. Therefore Esther experienced another loss of a loved one.
Within life, we gain the support from someone that helps us get through life but often times leaves us when we need them most. This is proven when Doreen; Esthers co-worker at the modeling magazine begins to lose contact with Esther through life Doreen is dissolving… none of them mean anything anymore (Sylvia Plath pg.17) Doreen begins to lose contact with Esther throughout life, just when Doreen had opened new doors to her. Esther was coming through a very difficult time in life, when Doreen started drifting away from Esther. Once again, Esther experienced the loss and support of a great friend and advocate.
Ones’ life is made up by framework. You gather friends and folks together and in this framework it clarifies your identity. You articulate and express opinions. You articulate and express opinions. In framework and talk, you develop behavior patterns and priorities and define framework in terms and languages. Esther did all this in her life. But then she forgot who she was. She forgot her framework of reference and she talks about success and failures and despair.
Individuals, need encouragement and support from loves ones to guide one through life. This is seen in the lack of support and encouragement displayed when Esther’s mother fails to support and encourage Esther with her aspirations. No matter what Esther had wanted to do with her life, her Mother had always wanted her to learn the skills of shorthand because she would always have that skill in her life and also that was the one thing her Mother had experienced in life. As a result, her Mother failed to enhance Esther with her aspirations that she wanted from life.
We need the sustenance and assurance from not only loved ones in life, but also from others. This is demonstrated when Jay Cee, Esther’s present boss asked Esther what she wanted to do with her life. Esther did not have any solid idea as to what she wanted to do with her life. You’ll never get anywhere like that. (Sylvia Plath page 27) Esther did not know what she especially wanted with her life. Jay Cee stated to Esther that not having an idea of what she wants, will not get her very far because Esther is lacking a few skills. Consequently, Esther lacked the support and helpfulness from her friend and colleague.
Throughout life one also needs the motivation and provisions from those that influence one’s lives. This is demonstrated by Esther’s Class Dean who upheld Esther through her high school years. I had a way of persuading…interesting experiment. (Sylvia Plath page 29.) Her Class Dean supported Esther in her way of thinking and her thrive for learning which in turn, she was awarded for her learning by receiving many scholarships. Therefore, Esther had the support of her Class Dean in order to help her strive for excellence in life.
Before anything or anyone can have a framework, support or a foundation is needed. Esthers Mom was her primary foundation. Raised her as a single parent from age of nine until adulthood. She guided her through her goals to success, and strengthen her through her failures with support. Jay Cee, Esthers, mentor, understood her strengths and weaknesses. She could provide Esther with every opportunity but failed to realize Esthers insecurity; lack of self confidence and therefore was unable to handle Esther to put her strengths and framework into positive energy to hold up support. Through life, one does have an advocate. The Class Dean always recognized her thirst for knowledge and supported her in any direction Esther wished to learn. Whether she wrote poetry, studied a language or followed a certain course, this Class Dean always gave her the strength to succeed in her goals with a foundation.
All people have strength and weaknesses. Through some of our weaknesses we experience it because of a lack of self confidence. This is proven when Esther wanted to do many things with her life but was not really confident in herself and her work. What do you have in mind… I knew it was true. (Sylvia Plath pg 29). She wanted many things in life but really and truly wanted to be a writer or an editor but did not have the poise in herself and did not have the confidence to do the work she wanted to do. Therefore, Esther did not have the self assurance to fulfill her aspirations in life. Esther had submitted an essay in order to get into a writing course at a particular college. … you didn’t make that writing course… I had expected it. (Sylvia Plath page 93) After finding out that she had not made the writing course, Esther thought to herself; that even before entering the essay, she knew she would not make the course. Proving that even before entering her essay for the college, she had no confidence in being accepted.
After building confidence within herself, Esther decided to write an autobiography using herself as the heroine but she felt that she could not write a novel based on life because she felt she had not experienced it. How could I write about life…baby or even seen anybody die. (Sylvia Plath pg. 99) Thus, this proves that Esther did not even have the self confidence within herself to follow through with her own ambition of becoming a writer.
During a journey through life one starts with a foundation to build on and decide on framework of ones life. In order to sustain and maintain life one needs a basis of love, support, food for thought and life to breath, expression and experience. If an individuals life is shaped and directed by the successes or failures of human relationship, without substance, one might as well seal up their life with a vacuum lid and live in a glass jar.