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Plath received electroshock therapy for her clinical depression.

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While not everything in The Bell Jar corresponds to Plath's life, she drew on many of her own experiences to write the novel. Just like Esther in The Bell Jar, Plath received electroshock therapy as a treatment for her depression and was hospitalized several times over the course of her life. She received her first electroshock treatment after her first suicide attempt at the age of 20. She was treated at Maclean Hospital in Massachusetts, which has also treated Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton, David Foster Wallace, James Taylor, and Ray Charles.

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