Study Help Essay Questions


1. What is the bell jar?

2. How much is Esther living in her own mental world?

3. How much of Esther's life is caused by fate? Which part?

4. How much of Esther's life is caused by her character?

5. How much of Esther's life is caused by her choices?

6. When and where does Esther lose control?

7. How is this book a wasteland description of women's lives?

8. How is this book a beginning point for women writers?

9. How does The Bell Jar relate to the women's liberation movement?

10. What is the history of electro-shock therapy?

11. What is the psychological explanation for Esther's problems?

12. What are the sociological explanations for Esther's problems?

13. What are the historical explanations for Esther's problems?

14. What are the philosophical explanations for Esther's problems?

15. Why are the Rosenbergs significant to this book?

16. What are the life images in the book?

17. What are the death images in the book?

18. What are the comparable images in other literary works to Plath's bell jar?

19. How do you rate this book as a literary piece? Why?

20. What are three or four ways to approach the moral dilemma of suicide?

21. What kinds of "landscapes" (Esther's term) do the minor characters create for Esther's world?

22. Who is your favorite character in the novel? Why?