Sylvia Plath in her autobiographical story The Bell Jar narrates to the audience the life-story of a girl, Esther Greenwood. She is a college student with many dreams and demands for herself. She is a hard working person and an A student; however, Esther gets bored with her work and all her dreams collapse. Her future seems to her uncertain. Moreover the corner is when she learns that she had not attained to be selected in Harvard for a summer course. After this failure, Esther subsequently starts to fall into depression.
The Bell Jar focuses on the crazy- making society that drives crazy, because of the dominant conventions and norms, any ambition and talented woman who lives at the time of 1950. For example, in the 18th century Kate Chopin's The Awakening the norm, for how a woman should behave, represented by Madame Adele Ratignolle. In Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar the norm of how a 19th century woman should be is represented by Mrs. Willard. Both of them claim that women are only to reproduce and to serve a man. However, Edna Pontellier, the protagonist of The Awakening, Esther Greenwood, the protagonist of The Bell Jar, both feel that there is no man suitable for them, for their sentimental goals, therefore, they feel that they have no place in the "universe". .
Plath in The Bell Jar explores the woman in the 1950s; indeed, she writes about the 1900s feminism. If we think a bit about nowadays woman's position, we will understand the differences between her and a woman from 50s. Actually it is a bit hard for us to realize which the norms of that period were.
As a feminist Anna Garlin Spencer reports in her book Woman's Share in Social Culture that women in 1900s had to struggle for issues such as the inequality of opportunity in education, in market and in their "social welcome of their best intellectual work for a number of generations" (Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings 270).