Bell Jar

Suicides’ Impact on the people

AP English Literature

By: Samantha Deroo 5/20/18 P.2

Suicide is one of the most important choices ever, life or death is in the matter of our hands. We may choose to commit suicide for a number reason, such as depression, school, family problems, etc..Although we feel the need to end our lives, we can turn that around and change our lives for the best.

Throughout the novel, “The Bell Jar,” we learn more about Esther Greenwood, and how the people, society, and her own actions impact her physically and mentally. Esther Greenwood’s life seems good, a trip to New York, attending college, and writing away. All seems well, until Esther’s life takes a turn. Once, her mom told her that, “she didn’t make it into the writing course,” that’s when the change began. Esther seemed to be an insomniac, “ I hadn’t slept for seven nights.” I believe she is depressed because, she didn’t get into the writing program; that must have shattered Esther, because she loved to write and read. She had a terrible childhood,“In Spite of the Girl Scouts, piano lessons, dance… I had never been happy again.” Esther has many suicide attempts: “cutting herself with a Gillette blade, hanging herself with her mom’s bathrobe cord, drowning herself, and trying to overdose on pills.” She talks about how, “...sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.” I analyze the “bell jar” as her problems, and the pressure from society and the people around her, weighing her down, and her only way to escape her “bell jar” is to commit suicide. Her“bell jar”was suffocating herit lets up when she gets the help she needs. She fingered her only way to solve her problems is to take matter into her own hands, although as she improves more at the mental asylum with Dr. Nolan’s help her “bell jar suspended a few feet above my head...open to circulating air.” She makes a much better improvement when, she started to get better help , for her situation. She’ll never be truly free, because, “she’s still going to live at the mental asylum while she goes back to school” and we never find out if Esther relapses, and she’ll never get the opportunity to feel truly free because, she’ll always be trapped in the gates of the asylum.

Throughoutanother novel: “Hamlet”I noticed interesting similarities about these two books. Two of the main characters seem to have an ambivalent relationship with their mothers. Both female characters attempt to commit suicide, Ophelia dies and Esther lives. Hamlet’s mother tries to make Hamlet to stop being so sad about his father death. “Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off….” Gertrude only contributed to his insanity because, out of all people she should be helping her son get through this time and encourage him to express himself. Instead she moves on awfully quick and marries Claudius and treats her son with no compassion or care whatsoever. Both of Hamlet’s mother and Esther’s mother appear to be okay with, the death of their spouses. “ She just smiled...a merciful thing because, he had been crippled..” (Bell Jar) “...Married with my uncle.. (Hamlet).”Esther’s mom thinks she’s helping her daughter, when she isn’t. She criticizes her daughter, at a time of need. “I knew you’d decide to be all right again.” Her mom acts like Esther was pretending to be ill. Also, “You should have behaved better, then.” Her mom is blaming her for the situation she’s in, and makes it seem like it’s Esther’s fault. I believe her mom, may have lied, to her about “not getting into the writing course,” because maybe she didn’t want Esther to leave again, thus hindering her chances, to grow as an individual, and encourage her to pursue her dreams. If it’s anyone’s fault it’s Esther’s mom for being such a jerk. I feel that the main people in both Ophelia’s life and Esther’s life. I believe that Hamlet, is to blame for Ophelia’s death because, he treated her rudely; “I did love you once.” “Get thee to a nunnery…” She later commits suicide by “drowning herself.” I believe Hamlet, had the biggest impact on her because, she was truly in love, with Hamlet and for Hamlet to basically call her a hoe, and tell her that he didn’t love her, and many more insulting awful words, she must have felt wrecked, knowing, that the man she loved, had no longer loved her, and also, she committed premarital sex, so she must have felt awful, that she gave him, her gift of virginity.In, “The Bell Jar,” I feel like the person with the biggest impact on Esther’s life, is her mother. I questioned, if Esther’s father had lived, would things have changed, considering the fact that may wish she had her father around, because she lost her father figure, and he seemed like a nice guy, “ ...he would have taught me about insects….German…” On the other hand Esther’s mom is the opposite of Esther’s father. I’m curious to know if it’s true that Esther “didn’t make it into the writing course. Her mom may have lied, to her so that way she would stay home and help her out or, maybe her mother was jealous, considering they are living apoor household, and she only “writes shorthand” whereas Esther is reading and writing, and receiving a college education; thus increasing her chances to get a real career, and make her life better. Her mom is always putting her down, and making her feel bad. Sometimes she’ll try to act caring one minute and the next, criticising her daughter.“... My mother had brought me some roses.” “ I knew you’d decide to be all right again.” Her mom makes it seems like she was pretending to be ill. Also telling her, “I knew my baby wasn’t like that.” “Like those awful people.” That’s not helping her daughter feel better, and if anything it only makes her worse, because her mom is pressuring her to act normal, when she really needs, is to take some time to recover. “ Hamlet” and “The Bell Jar,”share many similarities between the two main characters and both Esther and Ophelia have suicide in common with each other.

Throughout the poem “Resume by Dorothy Parker,” she talks about the pain and suffering you go, through trying to commit suicide. Instead, we should stop and “live.” Suicide is not, the easy way out of our problems, because, it’s very hard for someone to make the decision to end their lives. Some people may think it’s the only way to solve their problems, but their wrong. In “The Bell Jar,” even though she make many suicide attempts, she makes much more progress when, she’s at the “mental asylum with Dr. Nolan,” than when she was with “Dr. Gordon,” and without any help. “...I was my own woman.” She made such an improvement going from suicidal to “getting ready to go back to college.” If she had committed, she wouldn’t have gotten the chance, to go back to school and pursue her dreams. I think people who are suicidal should get the help they need, so they can grow from this experience, and be an example for others. Esther made, this transition happen, even though in the beginning when she was starting to get help she didn’t want to open up, and make that transition. Suicide may feel like to only option to solve our problems, but, we can change that and make our lives better. Sure it may be feeling kind of crappy right now, but, it’s going to get better. Remember life is full of ups and downs. Also, in another poem called “Suicide by Lianna Walters,” she also, speaks about the pain and suffering about suicide.Society, and people impact people going through the thought of suicide because, their trying to makes us feel and act a certain way, when we all have our right to express ourselves and act how we want and “do as we please.”

In Conclusion throughout “The Bell Jar” it relates to “Hamlet”, “Resume”, and “Suicide,” because, suicide impacts, the people because, they may be going through all sorts of problems, and it doesn’t help when society, and people are forcing use to be what they want. It impacts, their health because, they could be even more stressed out with all this pressure. Their physical health is impacted because, they may cutting themselves, or doing bad things to themselves to deal with the pain, emotion, and stress.

Work cited page: Book: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Book: Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Website : https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44835/resume-56d2241505225 Poem used : Resume by Dorothy Parker

Website: https://hellopoetry.com/words/suicide/Poem used: Suicide by Lianna Walters