Esther Greenwood Essay

358 Words2 Pages
The Puzzling Mind of Esther Greenwood The novel The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath, reveals a society in which reality is distorted through the contradicting perspective of young Esther Greenwood. Esther, emotionally traumatized from her childhood as well as oppressed by societal pressures, undergoes a severe mental relapse. As her perception of society changes, Esther’s discernment between reality and delusion becomes, in most cases, unreliable. Plath uses simile, personification, metaphor, symbolism, and figurative language to differentiate between Esther’s clear comprehension and misconceptions. One of Plath’s most significantly used literary devices is the simile. Similes throughout the novel give insight on Esther’s current mental state, reflecting her thoughts, whether they are sane or unreliable. In the beginning of the novel, Esther is in New York, observing her surroundings. She feels uncomfortable, and she states that “by nine in the morning, the fake, country-wet freshness that somehow seeped in overnight evaporated like the tail end of a dream” (1). This reveals that Esther feels as though everything is receding, leaving her behind in her new environment. She is evidently experiencing seclusion, which emphasizes her current mental state. She is undergoing isolation from the society as a result of her subconsciously intentional self-solitude. However, she later begins feeling as though she is free from the factors that restrain her from reaching her dreams and desires. Esther is skiing with Buddy Willard before surpassing him, entranced in her exhilaration as “people and trees receded on either hand like the dark sides of a tunnel as [she] hurtled on to the still, bright point at the end of it, the pebble at the bottom of the well, the white sweet baby cradled in its mother’s belly” (97). This simile contrasts from the other, as it reveals Esther’s clear
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