Robert Oscar Lopez
Esther Greenwood says of the summer of 1953: “It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” So goes the opening sentence in the classic novel The Bell Jar.
A political event—execution of two Jews accused (apparently, fairly) of treason—ends up being all about Esther. The execution is a metaphor for her identity crisis as a middle-class white woman surrounded by docile females and egotistical, inconsiderate men.
As many freshmen have postulated about this classic young adult novel, Esther is allegorically executed too, by the stifling conformity and sexual inhibitions of Eisenhower America! You see, being a gifted woman in bourgeois society is just like being put to death for treason!