Damsels in Distress: A Portrayal of Young Girls in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides.

Martos, Pauline (2017) Damsels in Distress: A Portrayal of Young Girls in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides. [Mémoire]

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Item Type: Mémoire
Creators: Martos, Pauline
Directeur de recherche: Martos, Pauline
Divisions: UFR Langues, Littératures et Civilisations Etrangères > Département Etudes du Monde Anglophone (DEMA)
Diplôme: M2 Etudes anglophones
Subjects: ARTS-LETTRES-LANGUES-PHILOSOPHIE > Langues
ARTS-LETTRES-LANGUES-PHILOSOPHIE > Langues > Anglais
ARTS-LETTRES-LANGUES-PHILOSOPHIE > Lettres modernes > Anglais
Uncontrolled Keywords: Eugenides, Plath, suicide, adolescence
Abstract: This thesis will thus examine how young girls’ malaise is explored with in both novels. Plath’s and Eugenides’ treatments of adolescent malaise mainly pivot around three substantial ideas. Both highlight the different sorts of pressures to which their female protagonists are exposed against their will, and how these pressures perniciously affect their well-being. They manage to connect this network of pressures with depression, by offering a rich and carefully elaborated analysis of mental illness. By associating these external sources of oppression with internal mental breakdown, Plath and Eugenides question where the “illness” truly lies: the protagonists’ environment seems to be more ill than they are. But these novels are not as pessimistic and gloomy as they might seem. They both suggest that the vicious circles of oppression and depression could and should be overcome, and offer creative, insightful alternatives to the totalitarian norms that Esther and the Lisbon sisters desperately seek to escape. And this is why The Bell Jar and The Virgin Suicides should not be reduced to mere chronicles of mundane teenage crisis: they illustrate how oppression can result in depression and offer possibilities of liberation for their main characters. Despite the different endings that they offer, one closing on life and the other concluding on death, they share the same singular beauty by staging show how pain, doubts and torments that characterize feminine adolescence can be transcended and turned into strength.
URI: http://dante.univ-tlse2.fr/id/eprint/3294