Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

The Manifestation of Alienation in Sylvia Plath’s the Bell Jar
Esma Biroğlu

This study argues that the male-dominated society alienates the protagonist of The Bell Jar, Esther, as she tries to develop her female identity in the patriarchal American society. The American society obligated women to be submissive to their husbands. Women were expected to satisfy their husband’s sexual desires and become mothers. Secondly, the paper sheds light on other reasons behind the protagonist’s alienation like being different from her society in general and mother in particular. She alienates herself from the conventional thinking among American women who believe in “idle talk,” where they lack the choice to change anything concerning the world. Esther does not desire to live within the confinements of the societal gender roles; therefore, she dissociates herself from her family and environment. Thirdly, the study illustrates how the psychological trauma, inner absence, and depression alienate the protagonist. She misses her deceased father. What is more, his absence ushers her miserableness, depression and madness. Additionally, the meaninglessness in her life makes her unable to enjoy her life to the fullest. Thus, this state makes her sadder, depressed, and more alienated.

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