Esther finds herself unable to concentrate and perform daily tasks. Therefore she decides to undergo a few sessions with Dr. Gordon, a psychiatrist, and even undergoes treatments of electroshock therapy. As the depression sinks in, Esther becomes obsessive about suicide, and tries to kill herself by crawling into the cellar where she subsequently ingested a bottle of sleeping pills. Esther's attempt fails and she is taken to a city hospital, and then over to a private psychiatric institution by the intervention of a benefactor. As Esther begins to recover, she develops a close relationship with her psychiatrist Dr. Nolan, and eventually leaves the hospital as a transformed woman.
This transformation, spiritual reassessment or moral reconciliation is exactly the kind of happy ending described by Fay Weldon. In The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath ends the book with the scene of Esther going into meet the doctors of the mental evaluation board. She is standing outside the room with Dr. Nolan, observing the people around her and making observations about herself:
'Don't be scared,' Doctor Nolan had said.But in spite
of Doctor Nolan's reassurances, I was scared to death.
There ought, I thought, to be a ritual for being born twice patched, retreaded and approved for the road, I was trying to think of an appropriate one when Doctor Nolan appeared out of nowhere and...