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April 23, 2007

Theme Studies - Survival in Literature


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What do you have to say about the theme of "survival" in literature? See any connections between texts that you'd like to share? Please do so below:

Posted by lhobbs at April 23, 2007 06:03 PM

Readers' Comments:

Professor Hobbs,

I was an SA for the day.

April Hunsberger

Posted by: April Hunsberger at April 16, 2007 07:21 PM

Kristin Dudra
ENGL 121.003
18 April 2007
Survival
Survival could mean surviving in society, physically surviving, or even spiritually surviving. In the Invisible Man the protagonist is trying to survive mostly in society. During the “Battle Royal” he has to survive being blind folded and punched and then he has to grab money on a rug that electrocutes him when he touches it. All he wanted to do was give his speech and when he finally was given the chance to speak they played with him by making him repeat what he was saying or telling him to speak louder. He had to survive going to college and getting that job at the paint factory. All through his life he had to survive being a black man in society in this time.
In The Bell Jar, Esther also had to survive society. She went to college and then got an internship in New York where there is a lot of competition to be the best. But she didn’t have to just survive in society though. Esther also had to survive herself, in her own mind. She has to overcome her depression. There is also an instance when Esther has to protect herself to survive against the woman-hating man her friend Doreen set her up on a blind date with. Both the Invisible Man and The Bell Jar they have to survive in society. But it's not only in society for both Esther and our protagonist, its life. Surviving in life.

Posted by: Kristin Dudra at April 16, 2007 10:48 PM

Lyndsay Krall
ENGL 121
April 15, 2007

For reading response #4 I have chosen to write about a common symbol between Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak. I chose this topic because I felt that there was one symbol in particular that I wanted to discuss. The common symbol between the two that I will talk about for reading response #4 would be the prejudice and discrimination displayed towards both protagonist of each story. I will be talking mainly about racial and religious discrimination, because it seemed that from reading the two stories, both men received these types more than others. Dawid was punished for being born a Jew, while the narrator in Invisible Man was discriminated against because of his skin color. Although there are many different types of discrimination, I feel that by narrowing it down to these two specific types it will help me to get my point across in the comparison of a common symbol between the two stories.

Posted by: Lyndsay Krall at April 17, 2007 01:02 PM

Lyndsay Krall
ENGL 121
Lee Hobbs

Of all the books that we have read in class this year, I feel that Invisible Man, along with The Bell Jar are two very good examples of stories with the theme of survival. In the story Invisible Man, it seems as though the narrarator is constantly fighting for equality because he is discriminated against for the color of his skin. It is a constant battle for the narrarator in which he is fighting so hard for what others were just lucky enough to have been born with. It seems that with every racial comment that is made, the narrarator grows stronger from. He is surviving the only way that he knows how. In my opinion, I give the narrarator from Invisible Man so much credit for what he has to deal with and how he handles each situation. It seemed that his main type of survival was simply learning how to cope with his surroundings. For example, on page fifteen the nararrator states, “I am nobody but myself”. I took this statement as one of, if not the most powerful statements in the book. It had made me realize that the narrarator is not a bitter or revengeful man, but someone that has come to the realization of the cruel world that surrounds him and through experience has learned to deal with.
In the story The Bell Jar, there was a different meaning to the word survival than of Invisible Man. Esther, the main character of the story, was what seemed to be your typical teenage girl. A young Caucasian woman who was lucky enough to attend college on a scholarship (like the narrarator in Invisible Man) and was living the life of many young girls’ dreams as working on a fashion internship in New York City. Unlike the narrarator in Invisible Man, Esther was lucky enough to have never been looked down upon or treated unfairly because of what she looked like. I feel that Esther was surviving in the sense that she was forced into something that she really did not want to be doing, but was trying her best to succeed in it anyways. I also think that Esther was trying to cope with the death of her father, all of the pressure that her mother made her feel, and the stress of being a teenager in college.

Posted by: Lyndsay Krall at April 17, 2007 01:44 PM

Jenny Troutman
ENGL 121.003
Theme
4/17/07


Professor Hobbs,

In Ellison's "Invisible Man," the character is mainly trying to survive society out in New York City. There's a struggle with racism and fitting into the society that everyone is a part of. In "Invisible Man", the character describes how his life was of mistreatment and not being accepted out in the "real world."

In Plath's "The Bell Jar," Esther, the main character in this novel was trying to survive out of the "real world" or I assume we mention, society. Esther wanted to be accepted and feel loved. She was suffering with depression and it turned into suicidal but she could never hurt herself.

Surviving out the world is really difficult to face, especially alone. These two main characters had two different lives but they shared their story. Its a frighten world, but they showed us how they survived out there and now they are living their lives.

Posted by: Jenny Troutman at April 17, 2007 02:37 PM

Professor Hobbs,

Both of the novels The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath and Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison illustrate how their main characters experience the theme of survival. The main characters in each book are young adults who are trying to figure out their place in life, while attempting to survive the daily struggles they are exposed to.
In the very beginning of Invisible Man the main character is thrown into a rink to fight with several other men in the battle royale. This character, the narrator, struggles to survive and to win the fight. In fact, the narrator attempts to make a deal with the last fighter in order to end the fight. “Then on a sudden impulse I struck him lightly and as we clinched, I whispered, “Fake like I knocked you out, you can have the prize’” (Ellison, 24). All that the narrator merely wants is for this battle to end, and that he survives it.
In the novel, The Bell Jar, the main character Esther is struggling with a mental illness that causes her to attempt suicide. Later in the novel Esther goes swimming in the ocean and though thoughts of suicide swarm her mind, he body reminds her that she is still alive. “As I paddled on, my heartbeat boomed like a dull motor in my ears. I am I am I am” (Plath, 158). This, to Esther, is a sign saying that her attempts to suicide are not working that that she is still surviving.

Sincerely,
Stephanie Vrabel

Posted by: Stephanie Vrabel at April 17, 2007 04:57 PM

4.17.07

Professor Hobbs,

The theme of survival is present in The Bell Jar by Syliva Plath and in the Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. The protagonist in both stories struggled to survive in society. Esther Greenwood, the protagonist from The Bell Jar, suffered from a mental illness that she felt separated her from society. In the middle of the story, it seems that she gave up on trying to survive, and gave up trying to be accepted by society. In chapter eight, Esther finds herself at the top of a hill, contemplating whether to ski down it; even though she was just learning how to ski. She decided to plummet down the hill because she enjoyed the feeling that she could get hurt and possibly die. Esther stated, “This is what it is to be happy” (Plath 97). At this point in the story, it seems that Esther was more interested in ending her life than trying to survive the hardships of living outside of society’s “norm”.

The narrator in the Invisible Man is directly affected by society’s racism, and in the beginning of this story, the readers see how hard it is for an African American to survive during this time period. “Uppercut him! Kill him! Kill that big boy!” (Ellison 23). The white men yelled as the African Americans fought each other blindfolded. They were being told to kill each other for the enjoyment of others. The “battle royal” is an obvious example of survival, but it also shows the psychological aspect of survival that the narrator had to pursue. The narrator had to find his sense his self in order to survive living in a time period of such discrimination.


Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. 1952. 2nd Ed. Vintage, 1995.

Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. 1963. Pseudonym: Victoria Lucas. New York: Bantam, 1978.

Posted by: Jen N at April 17, 2007 05:08 PM

Melisa Parsons
April 17, 2007


Survival


The theme to both of these stories could be survival because in both of these stories the main characters were fighting obstacles to get what they wanted out of life. In the story Invisible Man the protagonist was trying to make in life. There were a lot of things that was holding him back such as he lived in a racial society and the fact that he did not have money to pay for college. The things that he did throughout the story was all about his self survival and he did whatever it took even if it was negative. For example in the beginning of the story the protagonist was asked to fight by the white people although he did not want to do so he believed this was the only way he could go to college. Another example the protagonist uses to get what he wants is when Dr. Bledsoe told him that he was gong to kick him out of school he threatens to tell Mr. Norton that Dr. Bledsoe was lying to him about a lot of things. The protagonist did not want to harm Bledsoe representation he just wanted to stay in school .
In The Bell Jar the character Esther was trying to survival as well because although she has many problems she still have a goal in life and she is trying to reach her goal. Even though she tries to kill herself on numerous occasions I believe that is simply a cry for help. Esther survival story is she did not want to be like her mother she wanted a real career. When she fell short she was very upset because that what she thought that would make her happy.

Posted by: Melisa Parsons at April 17, 2007 05:36 PM

Brooke Decker
Dr. Lee Hobbs
English Humanities Literature 121
April 17, 2007

Survival between the Bell Jar and Invisible Man


Over the past few weeks, the class has read the Bell Jar and Invisible Man. There are themes that are the same within these novels, and a major one is “Survival.” Survival is remaining alive. In the Invisible Man, the narrator or the unknown person is trying to survive in a society where nobody sees him. He is trying to survive being an African American in a mostly white society and nobody paying attention to him. At the end of the book, the narrator states it is the end of the beginning (Ellison 571). He also says he can only mover ahead or stay here underground (Ellison 571). It seems as though he was going to try to start from scratch from the beginning all over as if he was being born again. He wants to start a new life for himself in order to survive in society.
In the Bell Jar, there is also a theme of Survival. Esther is surviving from the mistakes or faults she had previous. She was not accepted into the college writing course that she wanted to and things started to change in her life. By Esther trying to commit suicide, that was kind of her cry for help in order to survive and overcome the past. Esther thought that she was different from the others around her, but she found out in the end that no matter who you are you could survive. I think the things these two characters went through were challenges for them to see if they could survive or not, and indeed they both did.

Works Cited
Ellison, Ralph. The Invisible Man. New York. Vintage International Inc. 1980.

Posted by: Brooke Decker at April 17, 2007 05:38 PM

Lauren Wozniak
Instructor Lee Hobbs
April 17, 2007

Survival

"Invisible Man" demonstrates survival by realizing that he and the other blacks or African Americans are invisible and are unable to succeed in life by following the rules. The narrator has to try and survive in a world ruled by white people and is forced to figure out how to engage himself in the world and no longer be invisible. The narrator has a daily struggle to be accepted by the rest of the population and longs to be noticed.

In "The Bell Jar" Esther suffers to follow the role of a woman. She has to survive in a world filled with sane and normal people. She feels as though everyone around her is odd, but in reality her actions and ideas are abnormal and weird. She tries to conduct her life according to society’s standards. She is forced to deal with her struggle with suicide daily. Esther survives the world and most importantly survives people’s view on her.

Posted by: Lauren Wozniak at April 17, 2007 06:50 PM

In nature it is the survival of the fittest, much like in the novels The Bell Jar and Invisible Man. In Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar the main character of Esther must survive the pressures of growing up and fitting in. This is apparent as she consistently thinks of ways to kill herself and how to fit in among her peers. Esther’s inability to fit in causes her to become a weaker person and in essence becomes the bottom of the survival pyramid.
In the Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison the main character is born into the bottom of the survival pyramid in the eyes of society. The main character must fight the pressures of society to fit in much like Esther. Being of a different race causes him to fight harder than anyone else in society. The pressure to fit in is the overall connection between the two novels. Each character must fight to survive society.

Katie Kovac
English 121.003

Posted by: Katie Kovac at April 17, 2007 07:07 PM

Professor Hobbs,

The theme of survival is apparent in both novels, The Bell Jar, and The Invisible Man. In The Bell Jar, the main character, Esther, struggles with herself and her battle with depression. Throughout the novel she survives through instances such as electroshock therapy to help her with her depression (212). She also attempts to commit suicide, but gets through it. She didn’t give up, she persevered and for a short time was released from the bell jar, even though it may return.
In the Invisible Man the protagonist, who is nameless, has a lifelong struggle of being black in a racist society. Throughout the story he comes upon events such as the Casino Royale where he is forced to fight, and survives; he wins (17).Throughout the novel he is pretty much unable to be himself, being invisible, but in his own right, survives it.


Sincerely,
Tina W

Posted by: Tina W at April 17, 2007 08:22 PM

Survival in 'The Bell Jar' was Sylvia Plath's character Esther trying to survive her own anxieties and disbeliefs in herself. Society wasn't giving her any challenges; she gave herself challenges. I think her body pushed for survival, at least she thought mentally, in the book when she wanted to kill herself and heard her heart beat.

In 'Invisible Man,' the narrator is trying to survive by going against social norms. He refuses to be invisible and he does this by joining the Brotherhood. He speaks out and makes himself known (at least at first). In a way, though, it is similar to Esther. He has his own problems he's dealing with, particularly at the end when he wants to be invisible.

Posted by: Kendra Sledzinski at April 17, 2007 09:06 PM

Lorin Gdula

Theme of survival between Invisible Man and The Bell Jar

There are many of themes that we discussed in class that could relate to the Invisible Man and The Bell Jar, but one common one is survival. In the Invisible Man he starts off feeling “invisible” where he feels that no one sees him and he is looked down upon because of his race. He feels like no one sees him or pays any attention to him and he struggles with his own identity. He feels like he needs to fit and survive in society, but being a black man in this type of setting and society is not that easy for him. He is just trying to survive society every day and it doesn’t help when a man, that you think you can trust, writesa bad letter for you to get a job. So is it hard for the narrator to trust people and this book really shows a survival of the fittest type aspect.

In The Bell Jar, Esther, is also trying to survive in life, but unlike the narrator in the Invisible Man who wants to live, Esther thinks about ending her life many of times. But what I don’t understand is that if she wanted to kill herself she would have done it a lot earlier in the book. You just don’t go around saying, “I’m going to kill myself” because then your telling people and your seeking out for help. Esther drew attention to herself, she wanted people to help her, if she didn’t she would have succeeded in her attempts to kill herself. Like when they were driving on the bridge she said to herself how much she would love to jump off but you knew, as the reader, that she wasn’t going to do anything. She wanted to check herself into the asylum and you just wouldn’t expect that from a person who has tried to commit suicide more than once. I think she was just confused on what she really wanted in life. In a way she wanted to try to survive and to get ride of the negative thoughts in her mind, but at the same time she also wanted her life to end. Both stories have different views about survival. Both main characters show signs of survival but in very different ways.

Posted by: Lorin Gdula at April 17, 2007 09:24 PM

Erika Gillenberger

Instructor Lee Hobbs
ENGL 121.003 Humanities Literature
18 April 2007
When it comes to The Bell Jar and the Invisible Man, both are story of survival. In The Bell Jar, Esther has to survive her ups in downs with depression. Esther comes to the realization that she has two choices, she can stay living in a bell jar suffocating and wallow in sadness or she could brake free of the bell jar and start her life over. At the end of the novel Esther breaks free of the bell jar by starting over as she says, “There ought, I thought, to be a ritual from being born twice-patched, retreated and approved for the road, …” (244)
In The Invisible Man, the narrator finds himself struggling to survive the racial struggles of not being a white man. During this time white people were the dominating race. Racial inequalities for those of other racial back grounds lead to unequal treatment causing hard times for those not of white decent. The narrator was surrounded by racisms. Even at the paint factory racial tendencies were portrayed in their slogan, “Keep America Pure with Liberty Paints.” (196) To overcome this life of belittlement and disparity he decided to speak out for himself and those being suppressed by joining the Brotherhood. His speeches spread the words of equality. He decided to survive by not conforming to the racial norm and to take a stand for what he believed was right.

Posted by: Erika G. at April 17, 2007 09:44 PM

Professor Hobbs,

Webster’s dictionary defines “survive” as “to continue living or existing.” So “survival” would simply mean the act of continuing to live or exist.” This seems to be a basic requirement for animals: in order to propagate the species; you’ve got to survive encounters with predators, find nourishment, et cetera. As a common theme in the novels and stories read in class this semester, survival means a number of different things. In Watership Down, the rabbits escape the Sandleford Warren in order to survive the horror of what Fiver predicts. Later they find a safe, food rich, defensible area where to create a new warren and then best the Efrafans, thus fulfilling some of the requirements for survival (Adams 9,134, 420). In The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak, Dawid must survive starvation, persecution, sickness in order to make it out of the Lodz ghetto and get on with his life (Sierakowiak 31, 97, 211) Unfortunately it doesn’t work out as well for Dawid as it does for most of the other protagonists. The third novel, The Bell Jar told of a young woman trying to survive in an ultra competitive environment: a woman in the 1960’s going to college and interning at a New York magazine would probably be quite stressful (Plath 3, 118). The Invisible Man saw the protagonist living in a world where he was the top dog, so to speak, and moving into a world where he was essentially invisible. His actions and words influenced some of those around him, but most of the folks paid him no more attention than anyone else. I can identify with this sensation, and it can be a bit disheartening. Overall, the characters in these stories had to overcome adversity at just about every turn. Things might not have gone their way but they were able to, in all but one case, struggle through and survive.

Adams, Richard. Watership Down. Rex Collings, Ltd.;1972. Simon & Shuster.

Ellison, Ralph. The Invisible Man. New York, New York: Random House, Inc. 1947.

Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. New York, New York: HarperCollins, 1971.

Sierakowiak, Dawid. The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak. Alan Adelson, ed. Kamil Turowski, translator. 1996. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Best Regards,

Justin Bleggi

Posted by: Justin Bleggi at April 17, 2007 10:11 PM

Tatiana S. Mack
Professor Hobbs
English 121.003
Survival

Invisible Man and The Bell Jar's protagonist both share many qualities. They were both college students that never got the chance to graduate. However, they both took different paths that suited them as a means of survival.
In the Invisible Man, the main character decided to go to New York in order to find work (Ellison 147). He was able to join a Brotherhood, in which he could give speeches, and earn money, two things that he enjoyed doing (304). I believe that this was a survival technique for him because before the Brotherhood, Ellison's protagonist did not have a job, and living with Mary, a friendly neighbor willing to take in anyone in need (258). Being in the Brotherhood, he was able to get himself an apartment, as well as a join a society that would better him and the community.
Esther went down another road. After not getting into the writing course that Esther was looking forward to along with some other complications, drove Esther to be depressed and want to commit suicide (Plath 124). I believe that for Esther, ending her life was a mean of survival. The reason being because she was so depressed about the way that her life was turning out, that ending her life, would free her from this depression.

Posted by: Tatiana S. Mack at April 17, 2007 10:58 PM

Shayne Schmidt
Hobbs
ENGL 121

The theme of survival in the novels of The Bell Jar and The Invisible Man relate to one another through the main characters place in society. Both the main characters are minorities in the setting of the novels. Esther is a woman that goes to college rather than becoming a housewife which was the norm in the time place the novel is taking place. The narrator in The Invisible Man also goes to college but he to is a minority in the setting of the novel. The narrator is an African American in a time period when many blacks did not have the opportunity of going to college. Both characters are connected through survival to rise above the standard in their societies.

Posted by: Shayne Schmidt at April 18, 2007 12:17 AM

Lee Hobbs,

In the novels, “The Bell Jar” and “Invisible Man” there is a strong sense of the theme survival. Esther a college student in The Bell Jar tries to sustain self-preservation. Every suicide attempt was a call for a help of survival. She wanted to live but couldn’t escape the bell jar which was suffocating her. She lived in a formal society that held certain expectations for men and women, which she did not follow. Mrs. Willard, Buddy’s mother, explains, “What a man is an arrow into the future, and what a women in the place the arrow shoots off from.”{…} “In a conventional view, a woman must support her husband by creating an attractive and orderly home and by nurturing him and his ambitions” (Plath 23)
The Invisible Man also represents the ideology of the need to survive in a racist’s society. He felt invisible as if nobody knew he was there or he didn’t even want to be seen. He describes his invisibility as an “aggravation” or “advantage”. The need to be recognized or just mentally and physically “survive” in a society is a burden on ones ability.

Posted by: Sheryll Daugherty at April 18, 2007 08:11 AM

the theme survival is actually a big part in all our our books. In Watership Down, Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak, The Bell Jar, and Invisible Man, However, the characters in each were required to use different methods of survival. In our most two recent books, The Bell Jar and Invisible Man, The main characters are the ones surviving. Esther in The Bell Jar had to survive her mental illness while in Invisible Man, he had to survive the racial time period. Both could be tied into a time period, and both could be tied into the strength of their mental state. Esther had to overcome her suicide, but the Invisible man, had to overcome the daily hardships.

Posted by: nicole novak at April 18, 2007 09:07 AM

18 April 2007

Professor Hobbs-

The Invisible Man and The Bell Jar display the theme of “survival” in similar but very different ways. The narrator in The Invisible Man battles to survive in a time full of racism, stereotypes, and segregation. Outside forces put pressure on him to find the strength within himself to consciously make the effort to fight for his right to be alive. In the fast paced environment of NYY, the narrator often feels lost amongst the many men who are also making an effort to stand out and make a difference. At the end of the book in the epilogue he expresses his feelings about all of the people who had done him wrong as he mistakenly trusted them. It is at this point that he gives in and admits that he has lost his battle to win his goals and calls himself an “invisible man” (575). He goes on the describe a sickness of the mind that has overcome him and it seems that all of his attempts to survive society’s hardships are long forgotten.

Esther Greenwood in The Bell Jar undergoes a similar journey as she struggles to survive, but hers is more of a personal conquest that she brings upon herself. Her interactions with different friends and social contacts further complicate her journey as she declines into depression, but it is the mental conflicts within herself that cause her to lose her battle. As Esther is growing up and taking on the challenges that come with being a young college student, she struggles to survive in the sense that she wants to keep herself normal and up to the expectations that she has of herself. As she becomes sicker and sicker, she loses all sense and wants to die, but her body subconsciously keeps her going and her efforts to leave the world are defeated. An example of this occurring is when she tries to overdose on sleeping pills, and she is rescued in spite of her intentions. The headline “GIRL FOUND ALIVE” (199) expresses the exact opposite of what Esther wishes upon herself. As she is taken to the hospital, she continues the fight to survive as she is forced to think she must make progress and attempt to make it back into the normal world. Without the influence of external people, Esther would have no motivation to do anything or even think of trying to survive her sickness.

The two books both have characters who are both fighting to survive. But they differ in the fact that Esther was declining in her whole story before the end when she attempted to make an effort to get out. The narrator in The Invisible Man on the other hand, has an optimistic outlook throughout his story, until at his conclusion he finally feels defeated.

Bettina Herold
ENGL121.003 MWF 1145-1245

Posted by: Bettina Herold at April 18, 2007 09:39 AM

Dear Professor Hobbs,

Survival is a key element in both Ralph Ellison’ Invisible Man, and Sylvia Plath’s the Bell Jar. Both book tells about a young adult who is struggling to make it in the world. The speaker in Invisible Man want to prevail and survive in the world, and in order to survive he chooses to do a number of things that he otherwise he would not have likely done. The speaker wants to survive, even if it is alone in the darkness. At the end he once again musters up the courage to survive in the world.

For the greater part of the Bell Jar, Esther on the other hand in the Bell Jar struggles with survival in a different way. Esther wants, very badly, for her life to either turn around in a drastic way, or for her life to simply end. She is repeatedly haunted by her own existence, and her body’s desire to survive. After dealing with the death of a friend at the end of the book, Esther appears to be stronger, and she also gains courage to survive in the world.

--Erika Knox

Posted by: Erika Knox at April 18, 2007 10:00 AM

Amber Dunmire
Engl 121
4/18/07

Survival was an important issue in both The Invisible Man as well as The Bell Jar. The Man in the book, The Invisible Man and the woman in The Bell Jar were both trying to survive in the big world. They each faced different obstacles on their quest to be somebody. I think they each had somewhat different issues, but they were both trying to survive. Each of them were so-to-say “the odd man” when it came down to normal and odd. The man and woman seem like they have some of the same characteristics which makes it easier to understand why there were both trying to fit in.

Posted by: Amber Dunmire at April 18, 2007 10:04 AM

Survival is a commom theme that runs through both Invisible Man and The Bell Jar.

In the story The Bell Jar, the main character, Esther is trying to survive against herself. She so badly wants to die and not feel the pain she's feeling anymore. She constatly has major conflicts within herself. When she swims out on the water and plans to kill herself by drowning, she can't do it. She hears he herat telling her "I am I am I am" (Plath, 158).

In the book Invisible Man, the main character is trying to survive in a diiferent kind of way. He is trying to survive against society. He lived during a very hard time for miorities and he sees the consequences of this all of the time. His friend is killed by a policeman, simply for having a different color of skin. (Ellison, 436)

Posted by: Erin Rock at April 18, 2007 10:24 AM

Steve
Survival in the Bell Jar and the Invisible Man is a common theme. Throughout the Bell Jar, Esther realizes that she does not want to commit suicide. Instead she listens to her beating heart. On page 158, Esther tries to drown herself when she is swimming with Cal but her heart would not stop. Her own body makes her survive the world she hates. In the Invisible Man, the protagonist is trying to survive the other brothers. Also the whole african american community was trying to survive society.

Posted by: Steve Petrone at April 18, 2007 10:55 AM

Colin Hough

Instructor Lee Hobbs

ENGL 121.003

4 April 2007

The Theme of Survival

Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man are two novels that have seemingly many common themes. One of the most common themes that these two novels share is that of survival. When speaking of survival, there are basically two types, physical and mental or emotional. For instance, in The Invisible Man, the narrator physically acts with the instinct of survival on multiple occasions, such as when Luscious Brockway attacked him in the basement of the paint factory. Another example of his physical fight for his life dreams’ survival is when the narrator is forced to fight multiple other blindfolded black males in order to receive his college scholarship. As for the mental or emotional examples of survival in The Invisible Man, the narrator lives in an extremely racially prejudice town, which caused a large amount of stress to begin with. The narrator also feels as though he does not fit in with society in any way, whether it be because of the color of his skin or the way the people he thought were trustworthy betrayed him.
In Sylvia Path’s The Bell Jar, the main character, Esther Greenwood, faces many physical and mental trials and tribulations of her own. As for the appearance of Esther’s struggle for physical survival she is, at points, on the verge of suicide. Aside from the physical struggle within herself, she is also attacked by her blind date at the country club dance, Marco. Esther’s survival is jeopardized on multiple occasions entirely because of her poor mental state throughout most of the novel. She quickly becomes extremely depressed when the story commences, and it progressively worsens to the point of suicidal tendencies. Much of this struggle for mental survival is because of the fact that Esther wants to lead the life that she wants to lead, a successful poet, not the life that everybody else wants her to lead.

Posted by: Colin Hough at April 18, 2007 11:30 AM

Rebecca Shenkle
4/18/07

Survival Theme in The Invisible Man and The Bell Jar

The theme of survival is prevalent in both The Invisible Man and The Bell Jar. In the Bell Jar, Esther Greenwood is constantly struggling to survive. She is always contemplating suicide as well. Suicide in a way, is kind of like cry for help, which is another sign that she maybe was just trying to survive. In this excerpt from the book, Esther’s heart is beating fast, which is another reminder that she is still alive and surviving, despite her efforts to kill herself: “I thought I would swim out until I was too tired to swim back. As I paddled on, my heartbeat boomed like a dull motor in my ears. I am I am I am” (Plath, 158).
In The Invisible Man, there are also examples of how the main character is trying to survival as well. In the first chapter of the book, the main character is tricked into fighting another black boy in front of crowd. He does this in order to get a scholarship to go to school. In a way, he is fighting this boy just so he can survive, and go to school, like any other American child (Ellison, 19).

Works Cited
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. Vintage Books: New York, 1980.
Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. Harper Perennial: New York, 1996.

Posted by: Rebecca Shenkle at April 18, 2007 11:32 AM

Professor Hobbs,
I was an SA for the day.

Thank You
Donnetta Allen

Posted by: Donnetta Allen at April 18, 2007 11:36 AM

The two books we read, The Bell Jar and Invisible Man, had some common themes. One major theme that was present in both was survival. In The Bell Jar, Esther was trying to survive the depression and get released from the bell jar. In the Invisible Man, the protagonist is trying to survive from himself and racial prejudice. In both books they were fighting to survive the mental warfare going on with in there own heads.

Posted by: Greg Crossland at April 18, 2007 11:43 AM

Andy Hood
Instructor Lee Hobbs
ENGL 121.003
16 April 2007
Survival
The second you threw out the idea of survival being a common theme, I agreed instantly. I could see a common theme, not just between Invisible Man and The Bell Jar, but the other two books as well. The struggle for survival can be mental, physical, or even both. I believe the struggle for survival in Invisible Man and The Bell Jar were both more of a mental struggle. It is indeed, just as important to survive mentally as it is physically. Esther and the man were both minorities struggling to distinguish themselves as individuals in a big world. They were tested with greed, deception, lies. Both Esther and the man survived in the end with a better understanding of how the world works.

Posted by: Andy Hood at April 18, 2007 02:07 PM

Monday, April 16, 2007 - In Review

Students,

Today we discussed some common themes between Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and the other texts we have read thus far this semester. Here's the breakdown of class today . . .

1. Check your e-mail regarding my suggestions for your reading response proposals.
2. April and Donnetta, as today's S.A.s you were exempt from exempt from the quiz and homework. Please post that you were today's essays on the homework blog/turnitin.com assignment for today.
3. Note that there will be no meeting on Friday. Friday will be a “writing day” for you to prepare your first draft of reading response #4.
4. We had a dictionary check and textbook check in class today. See the syllabus for my requirements that you bring a dictionary and whatever texts we are using to every class meeting.
5. We had a quiz on the Invisible Man and other readings. Your were asked to define "theme" and "dissimulate."
6. We concluded Invisible Man chapter presentations. Those who did not show up today to do the readings they volunteered for did NOT get their extra points.
7. Homework: In your journal, discuss the theme of “survival” in both Invisible Man and The Bell Jar. Then, post your short response on both the English-Blog and Turnitin.com. Strengthen your discussion with examples from the text (this means using page numbers!)
8. Bring your copies of The Bell Jar and Dawid Sierakowiak to class Wednesday.
9. The first draft deadline will be Monday (4/23) a peer-review day, the final draft deadline will be Wednesday (4/25).

See you Wednesday,

Lee

--------------------------------------------

*NOTE* The deadline for this assignment has now passed. Comments are no longer being accepted for this exercise

~Lee

Posted by: Lee at April 19, 2007 11:34 AM

Brooke Decker
Dr. Lee Hobbs
English Humanities 121.003
23 April 2007

Survival in Bell Jar and Dawid Sierokowiak

The idea of survival is present in each of these books. In Dawid Sierokowiak, Dawid was trying to survive the Holocaust and the concentration camps. Remembering that they only got limited amounts of food and water. The entire diary and journals talk about how he suffered day in and day out but still managed to survive. He fought everyday for his life but over came and lived. Survival also comes into effect with his family as well; he did everything he could to help them survive as well.

In the Bell Jar, Esther had to survive an move on knowing that she didn’t get accepted into the writing course. She then attempted suicide and I believe that this was her cry for help. Survival is a theme in the novel because she had to overcome not getting what she wanted and survive that and be able to move forward.

Until Next Class,
B.Decker

Posted by: Brooke Decker at April 23, 2007 01:44 PM

Professor Hobbs,

Survival:

I believe that survival was a way of life for David. His whole entire life was based and focused off living one day at a time. It was not an option for him to live this life of misery and shame, it was just a mandatory routine that he followed day after day. However, in The Bell Jar, Esther had the option of having a great life, but instead she choose a different path in her life. This path led her to a life of mixed feelings and emotions that led her to be suicidal. I believe her acts of selfishness led her to believe that life was like a bell jar. For Esther, food, money, and shelter was not a problem that she had to face day after day like David did. And because of that i believe Esther took her life for granted.

Overall i believe that survival was how David based his life. He had no control of what was going on with his country and the war. However, Esther had the control of everything around her, but she let everything slip away, which in return made her life very difficult.

April Hunsberger

Posted by: April Hunsberger at April 23, 2007 02:04 PM

Lyndsay Krall
Instructor Lee Hobbs
ENGL 121 Humanities Literature
23 April 2007

I feel that from all of the texts that we’ve read in class so far, that The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak is the story in which best displays the theme of survival. Dawid had to not only endure physical survival, but he also had to mentally and emotionally learn to survive what was going on around him. He was discriminated against, and in what seemed to be punished because he was born a Jew. Dawid and his family had to learn to deal with things that they had never imagined possible. It seemed that their main technique of survival was learning to cope with the cruel world that surrounded them. Dawid and his family learned to survive in every way possible, the best way that they could.
I feel that Esther from the Bell Jar was faced with more of a mental survival than anything. I think that although she was fortunate enough to not have been faced with the same hardships of Dawid that she was trying mainly to survive the life of a teenager. She was dealing with the stress of her mother, the death of her father, and the pressure of balancing work and attending college.

Posted by: Lyndsay Krall at April 23, 2007 04:46 PM

The theme of survival is represented in The Bell Jar and The Diary of Dawid Sierokowiak. However the aspects of each novel have different approaches on survival. The Bell Jar deals with the mentality of self-preservation vs. The Diary of Dawid Sierokowiak, which deals with the physical endurance of surviving the Holocaust.
In the novel, The Bell Jar Esther tries to overcome her mental illness while trying to conform to a society that she doe not agree with. Esther’s actions and beliefs are deviant according to society’s normative expectations. For example, Esther is supposed to be marry, care and nurture her husband. This is noticeable in the novel with her relationship with Buddy and the views of us mother regarding a “proper” relationship. Esther feels trapped and does not feel she fits in. The Bell Jar suffocates her and she can’t escape her mental illness. Her suicide attempts throughout the novel are a call for help because she wants to survive.
The Diary of Dawid Sierokowiak is also about survival but focuses more on the physical aspect. Dawid tried to survive the war with the brutality and physical violence of the Germans, while starving and living off very little food.

Posted by: Sheryll Daugherty at April 23, 2007 05:46 PM

Jenny Troutman
ENGL 121.003 Humanities Literature
Quiz
4/23/07


In Plath’s The Bell Jar, Esther, the main character is struggling in New York City and tries to survive into their society. With New York City being a “business world,” it’s difficult to find acceptance without being judged. With the society and Esther’s life, she considered suicide the answer and apparently it is not.
In Dawid Sierakowiak’s Diary, he is trying to survive the Holocaust. Dawid is trying not to let the Germans defeat him or the other Jews. Dawid tries not to let fear get in his way.

Posted by: Jenny Troutman at April 23, 2007 06:19 PM

Professor Hobbs,

Here is the typed version of the free writing you asked us to do on survival in “The Bell Jar” and “The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak”.

Survival and the fight for it has been the struggle of human kind since the beginning of time. Each person lives through their own personal struggle, and those of the written word are just as susceptible to the fight as three dimension persons. For Esther of Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” and Dawid of “The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak” the world was a repressive and prejudice-ridden place. Each was forced to fight an uphill battle of survival against society and their personal demons.
Esther was deemed “insane” by her society, something to be feared and detested. It locked her away in asylums where it force-fed her shock treatments. Esther had to fight back against her society to survive. Society did not want her and was constantly letting her know as much. It wanted to terminate or completely alter her existence so she would fit its factory-produced ideal of the human being. Somehow, Esther managed to twist herself free of its grasp in order to ensure her survival. Even the most docile animal becomes vicious when trapped in a corner and takes every risk in order to guarantee it will live to fight another day.
Dawid was not quite as lucky as Esther. Unlike Esther, who triumphed in her battle for survival against the world, Dawid was too far tranquilized to fight properly. A hypocritical, hateful, Nazi society attempted through many channels to claim his life. It medicated him heavily before it stole his food, his health, his morals, his family, leaving him with little reason to live or fight for life. However, Dawid managed to bare his teeth for a while against these odds until, as his own personal will to fight passed, Dawid’s jaws loosened and society came in for the kill.
Society was not the only enemy that pressed down against Esther and Dawid. They had to fight against themselves in order to gain survival. For instance, Dawid was constantly at odds with his knowledge of his own weakening mental state. He knew that his body was diseased and slowly deteriorating around him even though he fought to keep it healthy and intact. Such knowledge inflicted harm upon his survival instincts, causing them to weaken as well.
Esther also dealt with this same sort of harm. She was attempting to not succumb to the growing depravity of her mental state as it chewed upon her will to survive. In fact, her will was attacked viciously each time she thought about committing suicide. Esther’s will fought back valiantly all but one time (when she overdosed on sleeping medication), and even then the smallest spark of will remained, unwilling to relinquish its fiery spirit of survival.
Esther and Dawid both faced conditions under which their survival was questioned. Esther fought against mental deterioration and society’s hatred of the insane; Dawid struggled against a Nazi regime that wanted him gone and the knowledge that his body wouldn’t be able to help him in the struggle. As the lives of both played out before the reader, one saw that the act of survival was not so much a battle as an ongoing war against countless odds. For Dawid and Esther, the battle was much more vigorous than the average person’s. Sadly, in their personal struggles to survive, Esther was the only one to win the war.


Erin Knisley
ENGL 121.003 MWF 11:45-12:45

Posted by: Erin K. at April 23, 2007 06:39 PM

23 April 2007

Professor Hobbs-
The Bell Jar and the Diary of Dawid Sierokowiak both explore the theme of "survival" in the sense that both characters had to battle to survive mentally during a hard time of his or her life. Esther and Dawid both faced external conflicts that caused a battle within themselves to overcome. Esther, in The Bell Jar, fought to survive her depression and insanity, while Dawid, in his diaries,fought to survive his own pessimism and hopelessness. Both people felt rather helpless and tried to reason with themselves to stay afloat on each of their journeys to remain sane and optimistic. Esther ended up losing her battle and caved in to her abnormal thought patterns. DAwid eventually became so overburdened with stress and fear that he started to hate the world and his fate to suffer. Esther and Dawid both found actual obstacles in reality that triggered further conflicts with their on conscience. The way both attempted to survive was, in a sense, symbolic in that they both wished to be happy and normal again when the lives they lived stopped spinning out of their control.

Bettina Herold
ENGL121.003 MWF 1145-1245

Posted by: Bettina Herold at April 23, 2007 10:04 PM

Professor Hobbs,

The theme of survival within The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath, is revealed in that although Esther tries to kill herself many times, she is still alive. Maybe Esther in just crying out for help and that she really does just want to survive, but her mental status tampers with this. Normally people will do anything they can to survive and to live through a struggle they are faced with, but this is not so for Esther. Her drive to survive has been toyed with.
Unlike Esther, Dawid from The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak, by Dawid Sierakowiak, does everything that he can to live on. Dawid was a teenager growing up in the Holocaust whose daily struggle in life was to survive this tragedy. Dawid, with barely any food for energy, survives for a very long time until disease enters his world. Though he dies from tuberculosis, Dawid’s main goal in life was never tampered with.
There is an irony when comparing this theme of survival between the two works of literature. The character who wanted to die ended up living, while the character who did everything he could to live ended up dying.

Sincerely,
Stephanie Vrabel

Posted by: Stephanie Vrabel at April 24, 2007 03:41 PM

Lauren Wozniak
ENGL 121.003
Instructor Lee Hobbs
April 24, 2007

“Survival”

The Bell Jar and The Diary of Dawid Sierokowiak have on main theme in common, survival. Esther, the main character in the Bell Jar is a crazed woman who is constantly worried about how society views her. Throughout the novel she copes with the fact that she is different from everyone else. She has to survive in a world full of sane and normal people. She struggles daily for the will to live and survive. At times Esther believes it would be easier to die then live with the struggle of being different. In the end, she survives the world and conquers society and their views.
Dawid Sierokowiak’s goal throughout the Holocaust is to live. He wants to survive by having enough food to eat and be united together with his family. Dawid’s struggle is physical while Esther’s struggle with life is mental.

Posted by: Lauren Wozniak at April 24, 2007 03:49 PM

Rebecca Shenkle
4/24/07
Survival Theme in The Bell Jar and The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak.
The theme of survival is definitely represented in these two stories. Comparing the two survival stories, in my opinion, Dawid's survival story is much sadder and was more of a struggle than Esther Greenwood's. Sure, Esther struggled to live a normal life, or just to live at all, but she did not have to deal with the harsh conditions that Dawid was forced to live with. I cannot imagine what it would be like to have to live like he did. I am surprised that he wanted to continue to live even after all he'd been through. I think I would have gotten to the point where I wouldn't want to live anymore. I don't sympathize with Esther however, because she did not seem to have as strong of a will to live as Dawid did. If I were in her situation, I don't think I would turn to suicide, but instead I would be seeking help for myself.

Posted by: Rebecca Shenkle at April 24, 2007 04:11 PM

Professor Hobbs,

In the Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak the idea of survival is very apparent throughout the story. The entire time during the Lodz Ghetto Dawid and his family had to live and survive everyday with little to no rations of food. Each day Dawid and his family weaker and weaker by becoming ill or physically hurt. In the end, his father and mother may not have survived, but Dawid and his sister never gave up throughout their struggle. Even though he died not too long after, he had survived the war.
Esther, in the Bell Jar, battled depression. She survives thing such as electroshock therapy, almost getting raped, and thoughts and actions of suicide. In her own right she had a battle with herself and was freed from the bell jar. She had survived, if only for a short time.

Sincerely,
Tina

Posted by: Tina W at April 24, 2007 06:59 PM

Theme of Survival Between The Bell Jar and Dawid Sierakowiak

The theme of survival is obvious in both novels. Dawid struggles with survival everyday. In almost every journal entry he talks about how the food ratios decrease each day. So his is struggling just to get by and he also has to worry and watch every little thing he does for fear of the Germans and what they might do to him. Everyday his life is on the line and he struggles to survive, he wants to survive. Unlike, Esther, who doesn't want to be in this world. Although, they are from different times in life and society was alot different, they both struggle with the aspect of survival. It's really not fair to Dawid because here is a boy who is doing anything and everything to try to survive and would give anything to live just one more day and there is Esther who wants to leave this world as quick as she could and would do anything, even take her own life, to end her struggle. A lot of people would say it is not fair, but then again life is not always fair. Dawid has a life that he wants to fulfill and Esther could care less about life. It is almost as if their lives should be switched. Dawid deserves to live because according to Esther, she could care less about life.

Posted by: Lorin Gdula at April 24, 2007 07:18 PM

Shayne Schmidt
ENGL 121

Theme of survival in The Bell Jar and The Dairy of Dawid Sierakowiak

The theme of survival in these two novels can be about the way the two main characters make it though suffering. This means that in The Bell Jar, Esther’s account of saying that a bell jar was removed from her and now was hanging above her head gave her a sense of freedom. The bell jar was suffocating her from exposure to new things. As in the dairy Dawid’s suffering was more intense but can relate to survival because of the Nazi’s confining Jewish people, just as a bell jar was suffocating Esther.

Posted by: Shayne Schmidt at April 24, 2007 08:34 PM

Dear Professor Hobbs,

The Bell Jar explored survival in the constant struggle for Esther to rise above the lower class. She was fighting herself to survive, due to depression problems arising from her feelings of inadequacy.
However, in the Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak, Dawid was being tortured. The conflict in his case was caused only by external forces. His survival was put on the line by other people controlling his life. There was nothing Dawid could do to save himself.
The main difference between the two stories is that survival was being threatened by internal forces in the Bell Jar and by external forces in the Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak. Dawid wanted to help himself but was physically incapable, and Esther’s struggle was primarily with herself.

Thank you,
Jaime Hersh

Posted by: Jaime Hersh at April 24, 2007 09:24 PM

Throughout the novels The Bell Jar and The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak the common theme of survival can be seen. In Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar the character of Esther must survive the pressures of society and fitting in. She gets caught up in the way society sees her and refuses to see herself. Causing her to think about killing herself, which in this case she has reached the point where she doesn't want to survive any longer.
In The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak, Dawid and his family just merely want to survive. As they are stuck in the ghetto longer their bodies become weak and the Nazis become tougher making it more difficult to survive. Their strength in faith and will to survive keeps them going, even after Dawid's mother is taken from them. Unlike Esther, Dawid wants to survive his life. Esther wants to leave her pain and suffering by not surviving, where as Dawid wants to leave his pain and suffering by survival.

Katie Kovac
English 121.003

Posted by: Katie Kovac at April 24, 2007 10:15 PM

The kind of survival in Dawid Sierakowiak was pretty much straight forward. He was trying to survive in the Nazi camp by getting food and money for his family. He would keep up with the news as much as possible so he would possibly know little about what is going on in the Lodz ghetto. In the Bell Jar, I think, one of the main things of survival for Esther was surviving herself. She went into depression and kept trying to commit suicide. She got sent to special wards and in these wards she learned how to survive herself and what she thought. Esther had to survive against her mind and the people around her. Dawid had to survive against the Nazis. They both had to survive their lives, living in their place and time. The difference is Esther, who wanted to die, lived and Dawid, who wanted to live, died after many attempts to survive.

Posted by: Kristin Dudra at April 25, 2007 02:44 AM

In the Bell Jar, Esther had to survive her own mental troubles. She has to try to overcome her own obstacles of suicidal thoughts. Dawid had to overcome his obstacles of the Nazi's. He spend much of his time figuring out how to outsmart the Nazi's, with food and even his own life. Esther and Dawid both had to cooperate with people they didn't want to cooperate with in order to survive. Esther had to cooperate with the mental hospital doctors and Dawid had to cooperate with the Nazi's and his selfish family. Esther's survival of her suicidal thoughts was a huge accomplishment, as well as Dawid's many attempts to overcome the Nazi's.

Posted by: nicole novak at April 25, 2007 08:46 AM

Amber Dunmire
Professor Hobbs
25 April 2007
Engl 121

In the novels The Bell Jar and the Invisible Man the main character of each book have something in common. They are both trying to survive. Both Ester and the narrator express signs that they are trying to survive this world. They are both trying to succeed in college and well as finding themselves. They both do not have an easy way of finding this. Many obstacles come their way when they are surviving the world, or trying to.
Ester feels as if her head is in a bell jar at all times. No one is listening to her, and she is silent. The narrator feels as if he is invisible. He feels the same way as Ester. No one is listening to him. His feelings don’t matter. In these novels, they express their feelings of being not normal. They are surviving the world and hating it at the same time.

Posted by: Amber Dunmire at April 25, 2007 09:10 AM

Erika Gillenberger

Instructor Lee Hobbs
ENGL 121.003 Humanities Literature
22 April 2007
In The Bell Jar, Esther has to survive her ups in downs with depression. Esther comes to the realization that she has two choices, she can stay living in a bell jar suffocating and wallow in sadness or she could brake free of the bell jar and start her life over. At the end of the novel Esther breaks free of the bell jar by starting over as she says, “There ought, I thought, to be a ritual from being born twice-patched, retreated and approved for the road, …” (244)
The idea of survival in The Diary of Dawid Scierakowisk is very evident Dawid’s struggle of survival was to just stay alive in a time of war, famine, hate and suppression. Dawid didn’t choice to be placed into this situation, but was forced into this kind of mental and physical suppression. To stay alive Dawid keeps trying to find better jobs and making as many connections as possible. With better jobs and connections Dawid would be able to get more food allotted to him and/or have some extra protection and help to stay alive.

Posted by: Erika G. at April 25, 2007 09:18 AM

Dear Professor Hobbs,
In Ralph Ellison’ Invisible Man, Sylvia Plath’s the Bell Jar, and Dawid Sierakowiak’s dairy, survival is a vital overlying theme. They do, however take drastically different approaches, and focus on slightly different aspects. All of the above books tell about a young adult who is struggling to make it in the world, and how they are forced to deal with adversity and struggle within the confines of society.

In the diary of Dawid Siercakowiak, Dawid is literally trapped. He is not permitted to leave his own town. He cannot get enough food and he has almost no contact with the outside world. In order to survive Dawid must rely on those who are suppressing him. Day in and day out Dawid watches as more peoply are lead to their deaths, and he wants, very badly, to survive.

For the greater part of the Bell Jar, Esther (from the Bell Jar) on the other hand struggles with survival in a different way. Esther wants, very badly, for her life to either turn around in a drastic way, or for her life to simply end. Esther is trapped mainly by the confines of her own mind, and is repeatedly haunted by her own existence, and her body’s desire to survive when her mind just wants everything to stop. After dealing with the death of a friend at the end of the book, Esther appears to be stronger, and she also gains courage to survive in the world.

The speaker in Invisible Man want to prevail and survive in the world, and in order to survive he chooses to do a number of things that he otherwise he would not have likely done. He is forced by society to make some very difficult decisions. The speaker goes through a time when he, like Esther, just wants it all to end, but at the end of the book he has decided that he wants to survive, even if it is alone in the darkness. At the end he once again musters up the courage to survive in the world.

--Erika Knox

Posted by: Erika Knox at April 25, 2007 09:40 AM

Professor Hobbs,
This is my view on survival within The Bell Jar and The Diarys of Dawid Sierakowiak.
In both of these peices of literature there is the a them that is present of survival. Both of the protagonists in these novels fought for survival in society. Daiwd fought just to stay alive against the opression of the German army during the time sof the Holocaust. Esther also fought for survival in society. She wante dto be an established writer. She also fought for survival in a cut throat buisness.
The types of survivla that both of these individuals fought for was completely different but, they were both fighting for survival in a certain type of society. THey both gave up many things to try and over come the obstacles that were placed in their lives.

Thanks,
Carlos Gonzalez
ENG121.003

Posted by: Carlos Gonzalez at April 25, 2007 10:16 AM

Colin Hough

Instructor Lee Hobbs

ENGL 121.003

25 April 2007

Survival

In both Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, and the collection of journals, The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak, there are a great deal of themes and motifs between their covers, but in each of these the theme of survival plays an extremely large role. The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak is a collection of daily notes taken by a teenage boy who lived in a ghetto by the name of Lodz. The Bell Jar on the other hand, is a story of a woman who, throughout the novel, suffers from a progressively worsening case of severe depression. These two pieces of literature not only fight for their physical survival, but mental as well.
In the collection of notebooks written by Dawid Sierakowiak, rightfully entitled The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak, Dawid faces a great multitude of horrible situations that threatened his survival in more ways than one. When the Germans invaded Poland, Dawid and his family along with every other Jew in Lodz, were moved to the town’s ghetto. There, Dawid and the rest of the ghetto’s inhabitants are forced to work extremely hard for a dangerously meager ration of food and a minimal amount of money. As the German invasion of Poland put a great deal of physical stress on Dawid, it also put a great mental burden on him as well, causing Dawid at times to lose hope and faith in himself.
In Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, the narrator, known as Esther Greenwood, faces the need for survival basically everyday, as Dawid did. The only difference between Esther’s need for survival and Dawid’s is that Esther is struggling to not physically damage herself. The reasoning for this is her mental state throughout the book, as it worsens greatly into a confused, dangerous and hurtful attribute of Esther. There are many instances throughout the book in which Esther comes dangerously close to committing suicide, a feat she never seemed to conquer.

Posted by: Colin Hough at April 25, 2007 10:32 AM

Class,

Please revise, correct, update, flesh-out, and then post the content from your quiz on 4/18 about “Survival” in The Bell Jar AND The Diary of Sierakowiak on both the English Blog and Turnitin.com

Don't forget that your final drafts of reading response #4 are also due in our next class meeting.

See you Wednesday,

Lee--------------------------------------------

*NOTE* The deadline for this assignment has now passed. Comments are no longer being accepted for this exercise

~Lee

Posted by: Lee Hobbs at April 25, 2007 01:38 PM

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