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The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar


by Sylvia Plath

Analysis: Three Act Plot Analysis

For a three-act plot analysis, put on your screenwriter’s hat. Moviemakers know the formula well: at the end of Act One, the main character is drawn in completely to a conflict. During Act Two, she is farthest away from her goals. At the end of Act Three, the story is resolved.

Act I

Esther experiences a series of crises in the summer before her senior year in college that lead her to contemplate suicide.

Act II

After a few half-hearted attempts at suicide, Esther attempts to kill herself by swallowing a bottleful of sleeping pills, but she fails.


Esther undergoes treatment at a psychiatric institution. The novel ends as she prepares for her exit interview at the institution.

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