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Chapter 3 Notes from The Bell Jar

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The Bell Jar Chapter 3

Esther goes to a banquet for Ladies' Day magazine with the other eleven girls. There is a lot of food and she is happy to be able to eat. Before she came to New York, she had never been in a real restaurant. The other girls are always dieting, and Esther eats the most. She is very thin. The banquet is for testing new recipes. Doreen didn't come because she decided to go out with Lenny Shepherd. Esther heaps a pile of caviar on her plate. She had caviar when she was younger when her grandfather was the head waiter at a country club. She knows that even though she can't tell which fork to use for what, as long as she acts confident no one will question her. She thinks of a writer whom she had lunch with while accompanying Jay Cee. He ate salad with his fingers and no one looked at him funny. She eats a plate of chicken and then moves on to the avocados and Crabmeat. She asks Betsy about a fur show they went to that morning. Hilda is wearing a mink scarf from the show. Hilda is a hat maker; She wears a new hat every day. Esther misses Doreen. She had invited Esther to go with her and Lenny to Coney Island, but Esther didn't want to go. Something had happened between Esther and Jay Cee that morning:

"After Doreen left, I wondered why I couldn't go the whole way doing what I should any more. This made me sad and tired. Then I wondered why I couldn't go the whole way doing what I shouldn't, the way Doreen did, and this made me even sadder and more tired." Chapter 3, pg. 24

The telephone rang as Esther was thinking these things and Jay Cee asked her to come into the office. Esther realizes that she is crying as she eats her dessert. She eats Betsy's dessert too.

When she went to Jay Cee's office, Jay Cee shut the door and asked her if she was interested in her work. Then she asked her what she was going to do after she graduated in a year. Esther said that she didn't know and Jay Cee told her that she needed to learn more languages because there were hundred of girls like her coming to New York every year. Esther lied about an accelerated German course. She thought about her courses. She had some trouble when she took physics and was worried about chemistry. She had done well in botany and in the first part of chemistry she had convinced the registrar to let her take it without credit. She went to the class every day and did well.

Topic Tracking: Maternal Relationships 1
Topic Tracking: Confusion 2

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