Free Study Guide for The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath BookNotes|
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The night nurse comes over and the women ask her to join them in a bridge game. Esther pulls up a chair to watch and listens to the nurse talk about her hard life. She has two jobs, one at the private hospital and one at the state hospital. She tells them they are all right, "itís those boobies at the state place that worry me off my feet." The nurse looks at Esther as if she thinks Esther doesnít belong at Belsize and tells her she would not like life in the state hospital at all, calling her Lady Jane. She says they have no outside privileges because there arenít enough employees. The nurse plans to buy a car and then stop working for the two hospitals, only take in private cases. Esther thinks the nurse has been instructed to tell her the alternatives. She must get better or go from Belsize to Caplan to Wymark and then to the state hospital. Esther leaves them.
Esther wakes up feeling luxurious in the comforts of Belsize. She decides to resign herself to the idea of falling and enjoy the comforts while she can. A nurse comes into her room without a breakfast tray. She guesses that someone in Belsize is having shock treatments and the nurse has mistaken her for that person. She gets up and goes to the kitchen. She tells the maid that there has been a mistake since she has not gotten her breakfast tray. The maid tells her she gets no breakfast that day. Esther rushes out to the alcove to sit in a quiet corner with a blanket over her head. She is not as horrified at the shock treatment as she is at the betrayal of Doctor Nolan who told her she would be tell her in advance if the treatment became necessary.
A nurse calls her name, but she pulls away. Then Doctor Nolan comes out and puts her arm around her "like a mother." Esther yells at her that she promised to give her warning. Doctor Nolan says she is telling her and that sheís come especially early just to tell her and that she will take Esther over herself. Doctor Nolan says she will be with her the whole time and will bring her back. Esther sees that Doctor Nolan seems upset. Doctor Nolan wipes Estherís face and hooks her arm in Estherís arm like an old friend and helps her up. Doctor Nolan takes her to the basement that links all the various buildings of the hospital. The door is printed with the word "Electrotherapy." Esther hangs back and then says "Letís get it over with." A woman named Miss Huey takes her to the next room. Esther has her eyes shut and looks out only through slits in fear that the full view would strike her dead. On the bed, Esther tells Miss Huey to talk her through the procedure. Miss Huey tells her she wonít feel a thing. She puts something in Estherís mouth and tells her to bite down. Esther feels like "darkness wiped me out like chalk on a blackboard."
Estherís experience with shock therapy seems to be freeing. It seems to be an effective treatment for her, pulling her out of her deep depression. Her experience with Doctor Nolan is also quite good. She is the opposite of Doctor Gordon, who was distant and unconcerned with Estherís fears and problems. Doctor Nolan mothers Esther and treats her as a friend.
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. 09 May 2017