The Bell Jar Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why is Esther shocked when Buddy tells her he is not a virgin?

2. Why does Esther's mother ask her about what happened to her face?

3. How does Esther feel about the cadavers that Buddy shows her?

4. Why has a medical student been assigned to deliver the woman's baby on the day Esther and Buddy visit the hospital?

5. What faux pas does Esther make with the bellman when she first arrives at the Amazon?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Esther and Hilda's conversation at breakfast.

2. What does Esther decide about her friendship with Doreen the night of their visit to Lenny's apartment? What causes her to make this decision?

3. What is the only item that gives Esther pleasure in the hospital? Why?

4. What news does Esther expect Dr. Nolan to give her after her insulin reaction? What news does she actually give her?

5. Who is Mrs. Ockenden?

6. Why is Esther upset when Buddy tells her he is no longer a virgin?

7. Describe Esther's feelings as she visits the gynecologist.

8. What is Esther's opinion of Betsy?

9. What leads Esther to be invited for lunch by Philomena Guinea?

10. What is Esther's standing joke with her grandfather about caviar?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

At the end of The Bell Jar, Esther is about to be released from the asylum. Write an essay discussing:

1) whether or not she is ready to leave the hospital

2) what the future holds for her

3) how you think she'll do in the "real world".

Use specific examples from the novel to come up with and support your ideas.

Essay Topic 2

In The Bell Jar, a few minor characters have a major impact on the story line. Select two of the following minor characters to analyze: Doreen, Joan, Buddy Willard, Mrs. Greenwood and Jay Cee. Discuss:

1) the personality (character traits) of this character

2) the relationship between this minor character and the major characters in the story

3) the impact of this character on the story line--How does s/he influence the overall story line? How would the story be different if this character was removed?

Essay Topic 3

The Bell Jar is a commentary on the mental health system in the US. In your essay:

1) describe how the mental health system appears in the novel

2) discuss what Plath is saying about the system.

Cite several specific examples from the novel to support your ideas.

(see the answer keys)

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