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Chapter 14 Notes from The Bell Jar

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The Bell Jar Chapter 14

It is completely dark and Esther hears moaning. A weight and force smashes into her face. Voices permeate her chamber. Light bleeds around her and she hears someone say mother.

She is disoriented and in a large room. She can't really see anything. Someone tells her that she is blind, but that this is all right because there are many blind men in the world. Later she wakes and someone takes the bandages off her eyes. She can see. Her brother and mother come to see her later, but she doesn't want to see them.

A man named George Blakewell comes to see her. She just barely recognizes him, but can't place his face. He tells her that she once dated his roommate at Amherst. She realizes that he just wanted to see a crazy girl, so she yells, "Get out. Get the hell out and don't come back." Chapter 14, pg. 142.

Sometime later, Esther asks the nurse for a mirror, but the nurse tries to impress upon her that this is not a good idea. She tells Esther that she doesn't look very good now, but will later. She demands for the mirror and the nurse sighs as she gives her a mirror to hold. Her hair is shaved off except for certain patches. Her face is bruised and misshaped, puffy on the edges. Esther begins to grin and then drops the mirror. It shatters on the floor and another nurse runs into the room. Both the nurses, upset by her behavior, tell her that breaking a mirror is seven years' bad luck.

They take her in an ambulance to another hospital that has a psychiatric ward. Her mother is very unhappy with her. She doesn't understand why Esther cannot behave like a normal girl. Esther pretends to not understand where she is being taken. At the new hospital, she shares a room with an Italian woman with long, flowing dark curls. She tells Esther that they put her on the ward because she went crazy and attacked her mother in law. When Esther tells her that she tried to kill herself, she stops talking to her. A group of younger men and women come into the room in white lab coats. Esther begins to get very flustered when they approach her because she doesn't like to address groups. She tells them that she feels lousy when they ask her how she feels. One of them asks her why she feels lousy. She tells him that she cannot sleep and cannot eat. One of them points out that she just slept all night, and she looks down to realize that she has been eating. They go to question the Italian woman. She whispers to one of them and they draw the curtain between the patients.

Esther is sitting on a bench with her mother. She keeps telling her mother that the Italian woman is imitating her across the garden, but her mother doesn't believe her. When her mother looks away, the Italian woman makes a face. Some doctors come up to introduce themselves. Esther thinks that they have odd names. She cannot really understand what they are saying. Her mother says:

"'O Esther I wish you would cooperate. They say you don't cooperate. They say you won't talk to any of the doctors or make anything in Occupational therapy...'

'I've got to get out of here,' I told her meaningly. 'Then I'd be all right. You got me in here', I said. 'You get me out.'" Chapter 14, pg. 146

Her mother says that she will try to get her out. At dinner a couple nights later, a black man brings food around to their table. The Italian woman used to help dish out the food, but she left. Esther starts to help. A red-haired woman is taken away from the table after she overturns a full bowl of food. The black man brings two kinds of beans to the table. Esther thinks that everyone knows you don't serve two kinds of beans at once. She is sure that the man is making fun of them. She goes behind him and kicks him really hard in the leg.

The nurse takes Esther's temperature and it is normal as usual. Esther feels an annoying pressure on her leg, so she kicks out and knocks over a full box of medical instruments. The thermometer shatters. Other nurses enter the room and restrain her, but as they wheel her away, she grabs the mercury from the thermometer. She likes the way it moves. She is moved into a higher security room.

Topic Tracking: Maternal Relationships 7
Topic Tracking: Confusion 9

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