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The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar


by Sylvia Plath

Mrs. Willard

Character Analysis

Mrs. Willard, Buddy's mother, isn't really an actor in the novel so much as a voice championing chastity and domestic roles for women, an echo, really, of Mrs. Greenwood's own views. Buddy loves to repeat his mother's trite sayings, including gems such as "What a man wants is a mate and what a woman wants is infinity security," and "What a man is is an arrow into the future and what a woman is is the place the arrow shoots off from" (6.79). Mrs. Willard feels that women are little more than pretty doormats for men, and it's not surprising that one of the few memories Esther has of Mrs. Willard is of Mrs. Willard weaving a floormat from her husband's old suits (7.77).