The Bell Jar - Turning Point For Esther

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In chapters 9 and 10 of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Esther Greenwood reaches a turning point in her life, sparked in part by an attempted rape, as her behavior becomes increasingly abnormal and her perspective becomes increasingly distorted. At the country club dance, of which Doreen persuades Esther to attend, Esther meets Marco, who she describes as a “woman-hater”. She describes him as a woman-hater because “in spite of all the models and TV starlets in the room that night he paid attention to nobody but [her]...because [she] happened to be dealt to him, like a playing card in a pack of identical cards.” (106) It is noteworthy that Esther describes him as a woman-hater for this obscure reason rather than the fact the he bruises Esther's arm. Marco also speaks threateningly towards her and forces her drink away from her when she attempts to refuse his dance offer. Esther's unawareness of these warning signs show her mental detachment and that perhaps the rape attempt that later takes place is by no means the sole cause of her change in behavior. There are many less subtle examples of her increasingly abnormal behavior prior to the rape attempt that takes place. Specifically in chapter 9, the photo shoot sparks Esther to cry uncontrollably because she is unhappy with the paper rose prop meant to represent her desire to become a poet. In fact, her uncertainty of her future plans is a primary cause of her depression and anxieties that develop. Never-the-less, it is the trauma from the rape attempt, which Esther initially considers letting happen and then fights back, that leads to Esther throwing away her expensive clothes off the hotel rooftop. After the rape attempt, she stops bathing and wishes to keep Marco's dried blood on her cheek. To her, the dried blood “seemed touching, and rather spectacular... like the relic of a dead lover”. (113) Esther stops caring

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