The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar

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It is 1953, and Esther Greenwood has just finished college for the year, and she has a won a one month internship at the Ladies Day magazine. She is one of twelve winners. All twelve girls are staying at the Amazon Hotel, while they deal with their hectic work schedule and social lives, as well. Esther’s boss for the month is Jay Cee, and Esther’s best friend for the month is Doreen. One night, Esther and Doreen were in a cab, on the way to one of the events that the Ladies Day had planned for them. They got stuck in a traffic jam, and ended up finding a man by the name of Lenny Shepherd.

Esther and Doreen follow Lenny back to his apartment, and they all drink. Doreen and Lenny start getting more intimate, so Esther decides to leave and go back to the hotel, leaving Doreen there. Not too many days later, Esther attends a banquet with the other contest winners, and she indulges in caviar and crabmeat salad. Later, she feels sick and goes back to the hotel. All of the contest winners got food poisoning from the crabmeat salad.

Near the end of the internship, Esther goes on a date with a man named Marco. Early on in the date, Esther knew she didn’t like him very much, and he ended up assaulting her. Esther was torn inside, and the next day she decided to go home to New England. When her mom picks her up, she told Esther of the news that she was not accepted into the writing program she worked so hard to apply to.

Over the next few weeks, Esther becomes depressed. She refuses to bathe, and she wears the same clothes over and over. Her dream was to become a poet, but now she can’t even write. She goes to the Doctor, asking for more sleeping pills; instead he referred her to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist is Dr.

Gordon. He believed that Esther would do well with electro-shock treatments. She went to one, and hated it. It terrified her.

After this, Esther becomes obsessed with suicide. She even attempted suicide a couple of times, but each time she was unsuccessful. She tried hanging herself, drowning herself, and slitting her wrists. One day, she decided to take a bunch of sleeping pills, and she woke up a couple of days later in the hospital.

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She was later admitted into the insane asylum (which is what she calls The Bell Jar).

Esther meets a lot of people there including Joan, who was once a love interest of Buddy Willard, Esther’s first real boyfriend. She also gets a new psychiatrist there, Dr. Nolan, a woman who understands her a lot better than Dr. Gordon ever did. Her friend Joan seems to get better, and gets herself an apartment. Later, Joan re-admits herself into The Bell Jar, and one night goes missing.

They find her in nearby woods, after she hung herself. Buddy comes to visit Esther in the asylum, and he wonders if he is the cause of both the girls being admitted into one, because they have both dated him. Does he make them go crazy? The novel ends with Esther getting ready to go to an interview, to see if she is ready to go back into the world, and go back to college.
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