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The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath

Quiz

Study Questions & Essay Topics

Suggestions for Further Reading

1. To what does the title of The Bell Jar refer?

2. Which of the following is not a method of suicide tried by Esther?

3. What is the subject of the article that Esther’s mother sends her?

4. During the magazine photo shoot, what occupation does Esther claim to desire?

5. How does Esther know Joan before they meet again at the mental hospital?

6. Who pays for Esther’s treatment at the private mental hospital?

7. To whom does Esther lose her virginity?

8. Why does Esther become violently ill after the magazine banquet?

9. During what era does The Bell Jar take place?

10. What disappointment greets Esther when she returns to suburban Boston?

11. What does the fig tree symbolize for Esther?

12. Why does Esther fail to drown herself?

13. Whose grave does Esther visit?

14. Which family member does Esther claim to hate?

15. What is in Esther’s suitcase when she returns home from New York?

16. What is Esther’s attitude toward the Rosenbergs’ execution?

17. Why is Buddy in a sanitarium?

18. What is Esther’s mother’s attitude toward Esther’s mental illness?

19. What happens to Esther at the end of the novel?

20. Which treatment does Esther not undergo?

21. Who visits Esther just before the end of the novel?

22. How does Joan kill herself?

23. How does Esther behave at the city hospital?

24. What form of birth control does Esther use?

25. What happens to Esther after she loses her virginity?

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