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. Who is Esther "cursed" to have had to eat breakfast with in the hotel cafeteria?

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

3. How often does Buddy commit to seeing Esther once they begin dating?

4. What does Jay Cee suggest that Esther do to distinguish herself from other women applying to be magazine editors?

5. What causes Esther's skiing accident?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Mr. Willard leave Esther alone with Buddy at the sanatorium?

2. Describe the Amazon.

3. Describe the article that Esther's mother gives her from Reader's Digest ("In Defense of Chastity").

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

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

6. 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?

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

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

9. What news does Mrs. Greenwood deliver to Esther when she picks her up from the train station? How does Esther react?

10. Why is Esther surprised when Buddy comes to visit her at college?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The Bell Jar takes place in several different settings. Compare and contrast three of the settings focusing on:

1) describing the setting and Esther's role within it

2) the significance of the setting in Esther's development.

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

Essay Topic 2

The narrator talks about Joan being Esther's double. Compare and contrast these two characters focusing on:

1) their personality traits

2) their progression towards mental illness

3) their progression towards recovery from mental illness.

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

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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