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The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar


by Sylvia Plath

Dr. Nolan

Character Analysis

Dr. Nolan, Esther's primary psychiatrist after she attempts suicide, is everything her mother is not. Unlike Mrs. Greenwood, Dr. Nolan understands how a bright, ambitious young woman such as Esther might chafe under the dominant social expectations for women to be subservient to men. Significantly, Dr. Nolan identifies Esther's relationship with her mother as a contributing factor in her depression. Dr. Nolan serves as an alternative mother figure for Esther in the novel by showing Esther that her future does not have to be the same as her mother's.