Sylvia Plath writes a novel a about a young woman named Esther Greenwood. Esther is a nineteen year old female from a small town on the East Side, who could very well be Sylvia Plath herself. this young lady is a very good student who always earned excellent grades that resulted in a numerous amount of awards. Her excellent grades also made it possible to win a scholarship. She earned a one month stay with an editorial board that was well established in New York.
Esther has mixed emotions concerning behavior, morals and the image of what society belives a young lady of her age should uphold. She is hoping one day to become a well known writer. She is living in the 1950’s culture that is concidered to be double standards, giving women fewer choices than the men. However there are separate rights and more advantages if a person or family is rich.
This causes Ester to feel overwhelmeded and feeling as if she is sufficating in a jar. Esther belonged to a college that was well respected with high standards for their students, which made her question her belonging and ability that lead her distress and to move rapidly, with all this gong on, it made her unsure of her future for example. She’s debating as to what career she wanted to take or should she just get married and be a wife, mother etc.
This caused severe depression for her along with thoughts of killing herself. She doesn’t seem to be excited or fasinated about being in New York which is a much bigger city than Boston, she’s alone and afraid very cautious of everyone, but at the same time wants to fit in with everyone. She resides in an all girls hotel with 11 other college girls, that are from rich back grounds. One of her biggest troubles or maybe regret is she becomes friends with one of the girls named Doreen, who gives her the impression that she is very mature and sophisticated.
A part of Esther feels that she should be living it up in New York, then there is the part that has a sense of saddness and a numb feeling. She works for Jay Cee who expresses pity towards her however, she requires alot from her. After a night of drinking Esther discovers that Doreen is not the mature and sophisticated person she thought she was, as she notices that Doreen is causing alot of problems for her.
When Esther sees how wild and active Doreen is she dettaches herself from her. She relizes that her ideas and views are totally different than Doreen’s when it comes to sex, and men. For example Doreen gives the impession that sex is a great thing, while Esther views it as something not so nice or perhaps dirty even unspeakable and harmful. She senses that Betsey and her are alot alike so she befriends her.
By now Esther can no longer surpress her mental feelings. She feels that she has many personalities. The main focus why Esther is having so many problems and feeling torn and pulled in different directions is because she has no idea what her goals should be, and is unable to dedicate herself to anything. She hasn’t chosen which personality she most indentifies with. However she knows she is very talented, but the pressures and her mentlal state is a key factor in holding back.
Her boss sypmpathizes with her mental state. Esther has alot of hopes and dreams. Esther has a difficult time with stress and cannot handle pressure, she thinks if it is put on the back burner it will either go away or get better, her boss tries to help her by encouraging her to think things will get better for her, this puts her futher into denial about her mental state which results in her issues getting worse.
Esther’s mom is no help to her, she wants her to be a what she wants her to be and not what Esther wants. This is where the strong hate comes into effect towards her mom, she feels that her mom neglects or ignore her wants or needs. However the mom has no choices because she knows that women in the 1950’s had hardly any choices compared to the men, but if a person was from a rich back ground then that is another story.
Her mom has no other choice when it comes to working almost day and night so that she may be able to support the family because she is a single mom with no help. One of Esther’s concern also is that she has issues gender roles because in the 1950’s anything concerning sexual or gender roles were unspoken and a sin. She had no worries of being succcessful at her career choice.
However, if she choose to be a wife or secretary she wasn’t so sure she would be a success at it, because she has no clue on how to cook or any secretary duties. When she tells her friend Buddy Willard about her desires to be a writer, he seems to be no help in encourging her when he indicates that if she got married and had children her desires to be a writer will go away. Esther is letting what he says go in one ear and out the other.
When things seem to not go her way, she thinks back to what Buddy said and feels that being married with children will feel as though she has been brainwashed and a feeling of numb inside of a body that she no longer can or will be able to indentify with, knowing that she really want to be a writer, she kknows that deep within this goal might not happen for her since there were no role models in this field.
Her mom is still implenting the thoughts of her learning shorthand and being a secratary, and remain a virgin until she marries. At one point Esther says, “The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.”