Theme and message

The main theme in the excerpt from The Bell Jar is alienation caused by depression. Keep in mind that Sylvia Plath also suffered from clinical depression, just like her character, Esther, so many of Esther’s experiences are based on Plath’s life. The theme of alienation is, in this case, semi-autobiographical.


Esther, the main character in The Bell Jar, is alienated from everything that surrounds her mainly because of her depression. First, she is alienated from her mother. The two of them do not communicate properly, and it is suggested that Esther feels that her mother does not understand her and her need to have therapy sessions.

Secondly, Esther’s feelings of alienation are obvious in her interaction with Doctor Gordon. Because Doctor Gordon is young and attractive, she feels that she cannot trust him and she purposefully pushes him away by hiding important pieces of her life:...

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