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The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar

by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar Chapter 6 Summary

  • Esther continues to reminisce about her relationship with Buddy.
  • After graduating from Yale, Buddy went to medical school. When Esther went to visit, she asked Buddy to show her some "really interesting hospital sights" (6.1). After seeing some cadavers and babies in pickle jars, they went to see a woman giving birth.
  • Afterwards, Esther and Buddy hung out in his room. Buddy asked her if she'd ever seen a man naked before, and Esther said she hadn't.
  • Buddy asked her if she would like to see him naked, and Esther consented.
  • Buddy took off all of his clothes, including his nylon fishnet underwear (!!!), which apparently was some radical innovation of the time.
  • Esther was depressed and reminded of a turkey neck and turkey gizzards. Ouch.
  • Buddy asked her if she would let him see her naked, but she said no.
  • Then Esther asked Buddy whether he ever had an affair. He admitted sleeping with a waitress all summer when he worked at a restaurant in Cape Cod.
  • This surprised Esther because she had always thought of Buddy as morally pure, and he had always given her the impression that she was more experienced than he was. From that point on, Esther thought of Buddy as a hypocrite.
  • The next weekend, Esther got a call from Buddy. He had TB (tuberculosis) and had to be sent to a sanatorium.

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