In most coming of age stories, the main character is faced with a problem. After solving the problem (and finding fairy tale type love along the way) Esther finds herself a changed person, and is ready to take on life. However, the Bell Jar is unlike this. In The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Esther Greenwood has problem after problem and things seem to get worse and worse. Instead of feeling like a part of society, she feels alone, or as she puts it "Very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo" (3). In The Bell Jar, Esther Greenwood shows that conventional coming of age stories aren't all that realistsic and proves that the phrase "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger" is right on.
Esther knows that she should feel very lucky. She has won a Devil Wears Prada sort of internship in New York. She is living in a nice hotel, with nice girls, doing what she likes. However, she doesn't feel as lucky as she knows she should. In fact, she feels quite the opposite, depressed and saddened. She feels as though she's "Sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air" (29). Despite the fact all of her dreams were supposedly coming true.
Because this story takes place in the 1950s, Esther is expected to grow up, get married, and have children. These expectations scare Esther, as she has bigger goals for herself. She dreams of being a write and poet and of seeing the world. Her boyfriend Buddy (who is recovering from tuberculosis) wants to marry Esther. However, Esther feels that she has "the perfect setup of a true neurotic" (93), since she wants "Two mutuallt exclusive things at one and the same time" (94). Because in that time period women wanting more that one predictable thing for themselves dubbed them neurotic.
Besides her urge to not conform to society, Esther simply does not love Buddy. While at first glance he seems perfect (after all, he is attractive, athletic,...