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 disturbed by Buddy's view of poetry?

2. What national event is Esther concerned with as the book opens?

3. Why is Buddy eager for Esther to read the poem "Florida Dawn"?

4. What wakes Esther up later in the night?

5. What is Esther's first reaction when Buddy proposes to her?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the movie that the girls go to see from Esther's point of view

2. What does Esther think makes her a neurotic?

3. How does Jay Cee attempt to cheer Esther up the day of the photo shoot?

4. Describe the situation that leads Esther to leave Lenny's apartment

5. Describe what runs through Esther's head when she and Constantin are visiting the UN.

6. Why does Marco give Esther his diamond stick pin?

7. Describe the scene at the cemetery.

8. Describe Irwin

9. What do the voices in Esther's head tell her as she sits in the park contemplating suicide?

10. Describe the birth scene that Esther and Buddy witness from Esther's point of view

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Throughout The Bell Jar, Esther moves between the present and the past. Select three of the flashback scenes and:

1) describe what happens in each of these scenes

2) discuss the significance of each scene in Esther's life

3) discuss how the flashback scene relates to the "present" time scene it is embedded in.

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

Essay Topic 2

As The Bell Jar develops, so does the main character's mental illness. In your essay:

1) describe the progression of her illness

2) describe and explain the "red flags" that showed she was getting increasingly worse

3) comment on the role that the other characters played in her deterioration.

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

Essay Topic 3

In The Bell Jar there the author uses recurrent symbolism to represent aspects of Esther's story. Select two of the following symbols ( mirrors, water, babies, the bell jar) and:

1) describe how the author uses this symbol at at least two points in the story

2) discuss what the symbol represents about Esther at that point in the story

3) discuss what the overall message the author is trying to send about Esther using this symbol.

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

(see the answer keys)

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