The Bell Jar
Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
I had imagined a kind, ugly, intuitive man looking up and saying "Ah!" in an encouraging way [...] how could this Doctor Gordon help me anyway, with a beautiful wife and beautiful children and a beautiful dog haloing him like the angels on a Christmas card? (11.29)
Dr. Gordon is the psychiatrist who mucks up Esther's electroshock therapy in a terrible way. As the patriarch of the ideal American family, Dr. Gordon seems to represent American society, punishing Esther for going against social expectations and rejecting marriage and family.
For the rest of the evening, I listened to DeeDee thump out some of her own songs on the grand piano, while the other women sat around playing bridge and chatting, just the way they would do in a college dormitory, only most of them were ten years over college age. (17.23)
This passage is one of many where Esther remarks on the similarities between the asylum patients and "normal" women.
The fat bright faces of babies beamed up at me, page after page – bald babies, chocolate-colored babies, Eisenhower-faced babies [...] babies doing all the little tricky things it takes to grow up, step by step, into an anxious and unsettling world [...]
The parenting magazine Esther flips through gives us a good idea of what it was like living during the post-WWII baby boom.