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The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar

by Sylvia Plath

Dr. Gordon

Character Analysis

Dr. Gordon is the first psychiatrist that Esther visits when she becomes depressed. In contrast to Dr. Nolan, Dr. Gordon doesn't seem at all interested in what Esther has to say; he even repeats the same banal comments about her college twice, as if he doesn't even remember their previous conversations. With his conventional attractiveness and the photograph of his model-perfect wife and children in his office, Dr. Gordon is set up as a particularly vicious symbol of male-dominated society. Esther views Dr. Gordon's cruel misuse of electroshock therapy as a form of punishment, and rather than feeling healed, she feels punished for not fitting into social standards of "normal" behavior.

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