The Bell Jar

by: Sylvia Plath

Chapters 3–4

Summary Chapters 3–4

Esther welcomes her illness, as she enjoys allowing other people to take care of her. When her physical health fails, she no longer has to engage actively with the world, and her body mirrors her mental state. When sick, Esther welcomes Doreen’s almost maternal comfort. Doreen represents several varieties of freedom for Esther—freedom from fear of convention, from endless pursuit of achievement, and from mandates against sex. While Esther feels she can never behave as Doreen does, she finds comfort in Doreen’s freedom from worry, and her brash good humor and self-confidence.