What are some of the social expectations Esther faces in The Bell Jar?

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In a microcosm of the larger and more impacting pressures that weigh on Esther, she also feels she is expected to have fun in New York City during her time at the women's magazine. 

This "local" expectation is expressed in the introduction of the narrative as Esther reflects on her fixation with a headline news story of the day (concerning betrayal, secrecy, execution and death).

"I knew something was wrong with me that summer, because all I could think about was the Rosenbergs and how stupid I'd been to buy all those uncomfortable, expensive clothes, hanging limp as fish in my closet, and how all the little successes I'd totted up so happily at college fizzled to nothing outside the slick marble and plate-glass fronts along Madison Avenue. 

I was supposed to be having the time of my life."

Far from having simple fun, Esther is instead entering the first stages of a crisis of identity.

The people around her mainly seem to know who they are (in the sense that they have a strong...

(The entire section contains 815 words.)

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