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

2. What wakes Esther up later in the night?

3. What does Lenny's apartment look like to Esther?

4. What does Esther do when she returns to the Amazon the night that Marco attacks her?

5. Why doesn't Esther want her picture taken for the magazine?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

2. Contrast Esther's and Buddy's feelings about his diagnosis

3. According to Esther, what is her mother's opinion of her interest in becoming a writer or editor?

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

5. What thoughts consume Esther after finding out she must have shock treatments?

6. What does Dr. Nolan tell Esther about shock treatments in this chapter?

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

8. Why does Esther decide to take a bath when she returns to her hotel?

9. Describe the scene at the cemetery.

10. Describe Buddy's letter to Esther (that is waiting for her when she gets home).

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the significance of the novel's title. Be sure to include:

1) a definition of "bell jar"

2) the relationship between the bell jar and Esther

3) what the bell jar represents about Esther's character.

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

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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