The Bell Jar

Male Stereotypes in The Bell Jar 10th Grade

Sylvia Plath, the author of The Bell Jar, once said, “Is there no way out of the mind?” (Sylvia). Like her protagonist, Esther Greenwood, Plath struggled with depression and mental illness. This aspect of her life became a very prominent theme in her novel, but it is far from the only one. As Esther deals with this mental instability, she also suffers greatly from the expectations society has for her as a woman. Esther’s frustration with all of the talk of children, marriage, and working under men is one of the main reasons why she becomes depressed. Society has several stereotypes for women. However, although the expectations of women play a more prominent role in the story, there are several male stereotypes that are reinforced and revealed as well. Through characters such as Buddy, Marco, and Doctor Gordon, a definite and often negative gender identity revolving around several stereotypes is developed for men. More specifically, in the novel The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, most of the male characters are portrayed as having stereotypical qualities such as selfishness, a condescending attitude, and the belief that women should comply with society’s expectations. This reveals that while society has many stereotypes for women, it...

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