The Bell Jar
Twenty-Five Words of Less: Sylvia Plath's Efforts to Curate an Identity 11th Grade
I am, I am, I am. Sylvia Plath's heart beat, and she translated it the best way she knew how. To a woman who was self-aware to an uncommon degree, what else could the sound be but a relentless reminder of her own existence? Many have pointed to her constant self-scrutiny and introspection as evidence of a idiosyncratic narcissism. However, it is clear that these tendencies were merely part of Plath's lifelong struggle to understand herself. To know that she was alive was not enough - she had to know who she was, and what she was meant to accomplish during the short time she was permitted sentience. Upon reflecting on her childhood, this unremitting desire to identify herself more explicitly, which at first seems to be an egotistical pursuit, begins to appear more reasonable. After her father died when she was eight, Plath threw herself into her studies, earning high grades and an eventual scholarship to Smith College (O'Reilly 356). There, she continued to experience academic success, and had several of her short stories and poems published in various magazines. However, in 1953, Plath's carefully constructed world began to disintegrate over a summer she would later immortalize in The Bell Jar. She was refused acceptance into a...
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