The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

bell jarIt is one’s dream to earn a scholarship and a good career. It is the same dream to become really famous and rich. But will you stay satisfied with it? After earning everything, would you stay happy with life? Or will you slowly drop down into depression, unhappiness, and finally spending up all the hard earned money and going back to square one? Remember the story of The Great Gatsby. Gatsby was never happy in what he had in the end although he owned almost everything a rich guy could have, and finally ended up using all his money.

Esther Greenwood had just got a scholarship by winning a magazine fashion article along with many ambitious people. She was spending the next few years earning some experience from writing columns, including nice luncheons. She had the choice of friends from many other talented writers who also won the scholarship, and was offered a good job. She was about her twenties, just finishing her collage with straight As and entering the life of work and grownups. To many people, her life was like a dream come true.

But it was not. Having too much of everything would gradually bore her. That’s an economic theory, too. Let’s say someone is happily eating a sushi roll. The first roll made her wants more. The second, third and fourth roll is fine, but she would be starting to taste different on the amount of mayonnaise at the fifth roll, and finally getting fed up at the sixth. It is called Marginal Utility Theory. Marginal Utility Theory examines the increase in satisfaction consumers gain from consuming an extra unit of a good. Utility is an idea that people get a certain level of satisfaction / happiness / utility from consuming goods and service. This utility is not constant.

Esther’s performance in her work gradually spiraled downwards. She started getting really bored of the things she was supposed to do. When she applied for special classes in which only the good gets chosen, she did not. I’ve once read about the types of fatigue in class, both performance fatigue and mental fatigue with different causes and effects. This could be somehow be possibly linked with the causes of depression that was starting to effect Esther.

Performance fatigue can often be believed as mental fatigue, and could easily be cured by a short rest. But it isn’t. Having a burst of sensation to do the work but the quality of the work ends up bad does sometimes to me. There was once a short period of time when everything I wrote ended up bad. I mixed up the grammar and struggled with what to write. It stopped as time went by, and I turned back into my normal streak, but the experienced had frightened me a little bit with a few questions I asked myself: what happened to me? Where had I gone wrong?

Depression occurs mostly in young teenagers going to adulthood. It is caused by many different things. It is normally because the person’s too stressed in a situation in life, and couldn’t express it to anyone. It soon becomes so caught into themselves they start feeling self-pity and go down into depression. It normally heals in time, but at some cases, it can go worsen. Really bad depression will lead to a need to see a doctor. I think Esther was already going down in depression, but when she was rejected that summer, it had taken a deep plunge down an abyss.

Esther wasn’t exactly handling it properly. She lost the need to eat, to sleep, to even have purpose in life. Depressed people would finally take out their trump card, which is to suicide to end their misery, and that was what Esther tried to do. But she failed. Her mother found her out, and rushed her to the hospital where the setting of the next half of the book happened.

This book was Sylvia Path’s only novel. Most of her works were poetry–she was a really talented one. It was the memoir of her last moments, written in fiction form. She committed a suicide a few weeks after. She was a brilliant author, like Esther who was amazing in her studies. But it is too bad, the pressure finally got the most of them.

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