This paper presents an analysis of major character from the novel “The Bell”. Esther Greenwood is the protagonist and narrator of The Bell Jar. The plot of the novel follows her descent into and return from -madness. The Bell Jar tells an atypical coming-of-age story: instead of undergoing a positive? progressive education in the ways of the world? culminating in a graduation into adulthood? Esther learns from madness? and graduates not from school but from a mental institution (Murdoch? 10). A lay community of thoroughly mixed-up people is encamped outside Imber Abbey, home of an order of sequestered nuns. A new bell is being installed when suddenly the old bell, a legendary symbol of religion and magic, is rediscovered. And then things begin to change. Meanwhile the wise old Abbess watches and prays and exercises discreet authority. And everyone, or almost everyone, hopes to be saved, whatever that may mean. Originally published in 1958, this funny, sad, and moving novel is about religion, sex, and the fight between good and evil.
Esther behaves unconventionally in reaction to the society in which she lives. Society expects Esther to be constantly cheerful and peppy? but her dark? melancholy nature resists perkiness. She becomes preoccupied with the execution of the Rosenbergs and the cadavers and pickled fetuses she sees at Buddy's medical school? because her brooding nature can find no acceptable means of expression. Society expects Esther to remain a virgin until her marriage to a nice boy? but Esther sees the hypocrisy of this rule and decides that like Buddy? she wants to lose her virginity before marriage. She embarks on a loveless sexual encounter because society does not provide her with an outlet for healthy sexual experimentation (Murdoch? 110). Plath distinguishes Esther's understandably unconventional behavior from her madness. Even though society's ills disturb Esther? they do not make her mad. Rather? madness descends on her? an illness as unpreventable and destructive as cancer.
Largely because of her mental illness? Esther behaves selfishly. She does not consider the effect her suicide attempts have on her mother? or on her friends. Her own terrifying world occupies her thoughts completely. Though inexperienced? Esther is also observant? poetic? and kind. Plath feels affection toward her protagonist? but she is unswerving in depicting Esther's self-absorption? confusion? and naïveté .
Mrs. Greenwood remains in the background of the novel? for Esther makes little attempt to describe her. However? despite her relative invisibility? Mrs. Greenwood's influence pervades Esther's mind. Mrs. Greenwood subscribes to society's notions about women. She sends Esther an article emphasizing the importance of guarding one's virginity? and while she encourages Esther to pursue her ambition to write? she also encourages her to learn shorthand so that she can find work as a secretary. While Esther worries that her desire to be a poet or a professor will conflict with her probable role as wife and mother? her mother hopes that Esther's ambitions will not interfere with her domestic ...