In The Bell Jar, Esther experiences severe depression and general dysphoria—Esther’s ideas are at odds with society's expectations and her own experience in life. Esther feels like nothing entirely lives up to the expectations she felt in early life. She has a repeated set of failures in her endeavors and is continuously faced by the limitations that society imposes on her. As a result, Esther finds it hard to continue living what she sees as a life imprisoned.
Ultimately, that conflict between what society expects and what Esther desires is what drives her into the depression that nearly ends her life. For example, when Esther wants to strengthen her ability to write creatively, her mother insists that she should learn shorthand—a marketable secretarial skill. Esther relays her feelings by saying,
The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way. I wanted to dictate my own thrilling letters. (chapter 7)
Esther’s opinion of service jobs is directly opposed to the gender...
(The entire section contains 657 words.)