The Bell Jar

Significance of this Reference

The book starts with an electrocution, this tells us something about esther and her preocupations, what is the significance of this reference?

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In the first chapter of The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath introduces and develops the character of Esther Greenwood, the narrator and protagonist of the novel. Since the major concern of the novel is the mental health of Esther Greenwood and her progression into a deep depression and eventual recovery, the first chapter establishes the roots of Esther's mental illness. Although Plath does not attribute one specific cause to her protagonist's condition, she does in this chapter lay the foundation for the causes of Esther's dissatisfaction. The inclusion of information on the Rosenbergs brings in Esther's preoccupation with death, a character trait that foreshadows the suicide attempt that will be the central event of the novel.