Chapter 4 Notes from The Bell Jar

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The Bell Jar Chapter 4

She thought of her chemistry teacher as Jay Cee handed her manuscripts to look over for the morning. Esther read them and commented on them. Jay Cee was going to lunch with a famous male writer and a less famous female one. At noon, Jay Cee sent Esther to the banquet. Esther wishes her mother were more like Jay Cee, because her mother doesn't support her. She washes her fingers in the fingerbowl, an object she first saw at her lunch with her scholarship supporter Philomena Guinea. Philomena is a writer who became very wealthy. She went to Esther's school and pays for her scholarship. Esther had gone to her house because she wrote her a letter thanking her for her scholarship.

After the banquet they go out onto the rainy streets and to a movie in Technicolor. It is a bad romance about war and a football hero. Afterwards, Esther feels like puking because she ate so much. She and Betsy get into a cab to go back to the hotel. Betsy is also sick. They start puking in the cab. They rush out into the building and into their rooms. Esther lies down on her bed but then gets back up to go to the bathroom:

"The sickness rolled through me in great waves. After each wave it would fade away and leave me limp as a wet leaf and shivering all over and then I would feel it rising up in me again, and the glittering white torture chamber tiles under my feet and over my head and all four sides closed in and squeezed me to pieces." Chapter 4, pg. 36

She is on the floor of the bathroom for a very long time. Then she hears someone pounding on the door. She flushes the toilet and cleans up the puke with a towel. Her next sight is a black shoe near her face. Someone tells her that she is all right and comments to someone else that there are eleven girls sick in all. They take Esther back to her room and tell her that she was poisoned by the crabmeat. Later, Doreen is standing by her pillow. She gives her some amber liquid to drink. After she drinks, she feels better. Ladies' Day magazine sends the girls special presents the next day. No one has opened them when Esther opens hers: a book of short stories. She eats Doreen's soup.

Topic Tracking: Maternal Relationships 2

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