Across the horizon: the rising sun and endless possibilities
 
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STUDYWORLD STUDYNOTES:

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Studyworld Studynotes
\Studyworld\ Studyworld Studynotes \ Bell Jar, The:
Chapter 9

The scene switches back to the present in New York. Esther is talking to Hilda, the hat girl, who informs her she is glad the Rosenbergs are going to die. Esther is irritated she's been trapped at lunch with this shallow girl and changes the subject by asking about her hat. Esther thinks back to the night before, when she's seen a play where the heroine was possessed by a dybbuk (a wandering soul from Jewish folklore). When the dybbuk spoke from the character's mouth the voice was so deep you couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman; Hilda sounded just like that, she decided. Esther says, "isn't it awful about the Rosenbergs" and Hilda responds, yes, it's awful that such people are alive; she repeats how happy she is about their execution.

The scene shifts again, and she and all the other girls are in Jay Cee's office, having their pictures taken for the issue of the magazine which they guest-edited. Each girl is supposed to be photographed with some sort of symbol for her life ambitions; Betsy held an ear of corn, for example to show she wanted to be a farmer's wife. Finally Esther says she wants to be a poet, but having her hold a book of poems is rejected for being too obvious, and finally she's handed a long-stemmed paper rose. After she's been arranged for the picture and the photographer is about to snap it, she bursts into tears; when she finally lifts her head, everyone has disappeared. After a short period, Jay Cee reappears with a armful of manuscripts, story submissions, for her to look at. She imagines people all over the country secretly writing these manuscripts. She imagines seeing a manuscript with her name typed in the upper-right-hand corner. In fact, she had already applied for a summer school course with a famous writer; she had had to submit samples of her work in advance, and was waiting to hear if she'd been admitted. She was sure when she got home the acceptance letter would be there. She fantasizes about submitting things to Jay Cee psuedonymously, and when the stories are accepted, she'd meet her at lunch and surprise her.

Back at the hotel, Doreen is tries to persuade Esther to go to a country club dance with her and Lenny, promising she'd find her an attractive escort. Esther is leaving for home the next morning and thinks she should pack, but soon gives up and agrees to go with Doreen.

Esther tries not to expect much of the party, thinking of herself as only observer. She sees a tall, dark man in a white suit, and a bright stickpin she can't take her eyes off. Someone notices her looking and tells her it's a diamond; Marco, the man in the white suit, is told to give it to her. She slips it quickly into her bag. Marco jokes aloud that perhaps that evening he can perform some service which is worthy of a diamond. He grabs her arm hard; she pulls away, seeing he's left bruises. She looks up at him, and his smile reminds her of a snake in a zoo; she knows he's a woman-hater.

Later, Marco asks her to dance. She refuses; he swipes her drink off the table in one swoop and physically drags her to the dance floor, where he tells her to follow his lead by saying, "pretend you are drowning." She closes her eyes and lets herself be led; surprisingly, she finds it rather sensual. She suddenly sees the appeal of women-haters.

When there's a break in the music, he takes her outside to the golf course. He smokes a cigar; abruptly, she asks him who he is in love with. He tells her he's in love with his cousin, who is going to be a nun, so they can't be together. Esther tells him if he loves her, he would love someone else someday.

Esther falls down in the mud; Marco waits until she gets up halfway, then pushes her back down on the ground and climbs on top of her. She realizes if she doesn't do something, he'll rape her. He bites at the strap of her dress, and tears her dress to the waist. He hisses in her ear, "Slut!" She fights back, struggling and biting, kicking him with her high heel and punching his nose. He finally gives up. She tells him she wants to find Doreen and go home. He demands his diamond stickpin back; but she tells him it is in her bag, which is lost in the darkness. As she leaves him, he's scrabbling in the darkness to find her bag.

She keeps to the shadows and covers her upper body with her stole, and is able to find a car which will take her back to Manhattan. When she gets back to her room, she looks out at the city and tosses every last piece of her clothing out the window

Browse all Studyworld Studynotes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20


 

 



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