The Bell Jar is during a six-month period in the life Esther Greenwood. The year is 1953. It is first set in New York, in a hotel for women with the fictional title of Amazon, and in the offices of a women's fashion magazine. Later, the protagonist returns to her home in the suburbs of Boston. She receives outpatient shock treatment in Walton, Massachusetts. Then she spends a short time in a city psychiatric hospital. Esther then is moved to a private hospital in New England.
Esther Greenwood is a nineteen year old writer who has yet to receive serious encouragement for her writing. Esther is a woman of great talent who has many painful issues to deal with before she can continue with her life. The bulk of Esther's issues seems to concern her mother, and never shows any depth to the relationship between Esther and her mother.
She has an emotional crisis and is given outpatient shock treatment, after which she attempts to commit suicide. She is sent to a psychiatric hospital where she recovers.
Mrs. Greenwood is quite held back when it comes to expressing her emotions. She is angry with her daughter for getting sick in such a public way, but she cannot be directly angry with her. Instead, she plays the martyr and hints quietly that things should return to normal as soon as possible. Mrs. Greenwood doesn't have any good moments. She is passive aggressive, stifling, conventional, and priggish, according to the book.
The plot of The Bell Jar begins at the Amazon, a women's hotel in New York. Esther Greenwood is one of twelve young women who has won a prize to live in New York and write for a women's fashion magazine. She begins to feel as if she does not...