Chapter 5 Notes from The Bell Jar

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The Bell Jar Chapter 5

The telephone rings and it is not Jay Cee. Esther had already received a telegram from her telling her to take the day off from work. The name of the caller is Constantin. He is trying to arrange some sort of meeting between them and asks if she would like to see the U.N. or go out to eat. Constantin, a simultaneous interpreter, was given Esther's number by Mrs. Willard. She tries to think positively about the date, but can't. She looks down on Buddy Willard, whom everyone assumes she will marry once he gets out of the TB clinic. When she first met him she didn't know he was a hypocrite. Soon after she found out, and intended to break up with him, he got TB and was shipped off to a clinic. She orders room service and reflects on the difficulty of tipping people correctly, "I hate handing over money for what I could just as easily do myself, it makes me nervous." Chapter 5, pg. 44. She mis-tipped the bell-hop, waiter, and taxi-driver.

There is a card from the Ladies' Day magazine. Inside the book of short stories, she reads a story about a nun and a Jewish man. They accidentally touch each other's hands after seeing a bird hatch in a fig tree they have been harvesting for many years. The next day, a different nun comes out, and the Jewish man is hurt. Esther thinks that she and Buddy are like this: he has watched her turn from a baby into a woman. Buddy told her once that a poem is a piece of dust. He thought he was very clever. Esther thought for a long time before she came up with any sort of a comeback. She never said anything to him about it and rarely ever disagreed with him about anything. She had first kissed him at Yale's junior prom. Their mothers were good friends. They had both married college professors and settled down in the same town. The year of their first kiss, Esther was a freshman and had terrible luck with dates all year. Buddy stopped by her dorm because he was at her college to take another girl to a dance. Upset, Esther told him that she had two dates. He left her a note asking her to go with him to his junior prom. She was very excited by this.

At his prom, they danced very far apart. On the way home, she was disappointed because she thought that he was going to fall in love with her. He asked her up to the chemistry lab to see the view. He kissed her once and was very happy. Her told her that he could only come up to see her every third week:

"Buddy kissed me again in front of the house steps, and the next fall, when his scholarship to medical school came through, I went there to see him instead of to Yale and it was there I found out that he had fooled me all those years and what a hypocrite he was." Chapter 5, pg. 50

Topic Tracking: Maternal Relationships 3
Topic Tracking: Sexuality 2

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