Study Guide

The Bell Jar Chapter 17

By Sylvia Plath

Chapter 17

  • Esther is pleased to find that she's moving to a new residence, Belsize, for patients who are almost ready to be released. Joan has already preceded her there.
  • It is further reassuring because at Belsize, patients don't get electroshock therapy, while at Caplan patients do. You can tell which patients are scheduled for shock therapy because they don't get their breakfasts.
  • At Belsize, Esther hangs out in the lounge as the other patients play cards or play music. Joan points out to everyone a magazine photograph of Esther, from her summer internship. Esther denies that it's her.
  • The next morning, Esther realizes that she hasn't received her breakfast. Uh oh...that can only mean electroshock therapy. Esther feels betrayed by Dr. Nolan until Dr. Nolan personally arrives to escort her to therapy.
  • Unlike her experience at Dr. Gordon's hospital, both Dr. Nolan and the nurse are reassuring presences during the session. Instead of being conscious as they send electricity through her, Esther quickly blacks out.

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