“I am, I am, I am” – Powerless Against Society
Doctors have become a great contribution to the world today and are considered heroes of society. In The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, doctors and institutions take on an opposite meaning. Through Esther’s eyes, doctors are the leaders in the institution world and instead of being heroes, they are the villains. Esther notes that institutions are in favour of the powerless and unfairly restrain the patients who have a voice. She also sees that doctors have complete unjust control of the institutions and that they will do everything in their power to stay on top of the hierarchy system. A certain gender, female in this case, can affect the amount of power attained in institutions as well as in society. Being a woman, Esther questions the power of doctors and struggles to find a voice in the hierarchy of the institution society.
Esther first questions the fairness of restraining patients who can speak their minds against doctors. She notices that when patients give doctors no trouble and act as expected, they will be rewarded.
“Mrs. Tomolillo giggled. ‘Oh, I’m fine, doctor. I’m just fine.’ Then she lowered her voice and whispered something I couldn’t hear. One or two people in the group glanced in my direction. Then somebody said, ‘All right, Mrs. Tomolillo,’ and somebody stepped out and pulled the bed-curtain between us like a white wall.” (Plath 171)
When Esther complains that she is feeling “lousy”, the doctors assume she is trying to be difficult and therefore neglect her. In contrast, Mrs. Tomolillo decides not to be difficult and the doctors are pleased with the way they have her under their control. With that, they follow her request to be separated from Esther as a reward. This relates to One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey because McMurphy is the obnoxious anti-hero of the story and is punished by Nurse Ratched for being outspoken and having a voice of his own. McMurphy and...