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The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar

by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar Chapter 10 Summary

  • On the train, Esther is wearing a green skirt and a flutter-sleeve blouse that she had to trade Betsy for because she threw all her clothes off the hotel roof.
  • Her mother picks her up at the Route 128 stop outside Boston, and promptly informs her that she has not made it into the writing course.
  • Esther wakes up the next morning to the sound of her neighbor, Dodo Conway, pushing a baby carriage up and down the street in front of her house.
  • Esther goes downstairs to answer a phone call. It's Jody, a friend from college, asking Esther if Esther made it into the course. Esther says no, she'll be staying in the suburbs.
  • Esther then checks her mail. A letter from the Harvard summer school offers her registration in another summer school course, but she calls the school up to let them know she's not interested.
  • There's also a letter from Buddy, saying that he's fallen for a nurse who also has tuberculosis, but if Esther follows his mother up to visit him in July, he might change his mind. Esther writes to him that she's decided to marry a simultaneous interpreter.
  • Esther decides she'll write a novel. She starts to type up a story about a woman like herself, sitting at home…trying to write a novel.
  • Esther abandons her novel.
  • Her mother offers to teach her shorthand, just as she does at the city college. But after a few minutes, Esther says she has a headache and goes to bed.
  • Esther then decides that she could get a head start on her senior thesis, which is on James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. But the first line is so complicated that it discourages her.
  • Some weeks later, Esther visits the family doctor for sleeping pills. The doctor recommends that Esther see a psychiatrist, Doctor Gordon.

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