Study Guide

The Bell Jar Characters

By Sylvia Plath

Esther Greenwood

The first page of The Bell Jar is an abrupt introduction to Esther Greenwood's wry, morbid voice....

Buddy Willard

Buddy Willard is Esther's not-so-smooth sort-of-boyfriend. He's the kind of guy that, if you're a...

Mrs. Greenwood

Esther can't stand her mother, Mrs. Greenwood, but considering all of the awful mothers in...

Joan Giling

Esther acknowledges that Joan Giling, her high school friend, is in many ways her double. Like...

Mrs. Willard

Mrs. Willard, Buddy's mother, isn't really an actor in the novel so much as a voice championing...

Dr. Nolan

Dr. Nolan, Esther's primary psychiatrist after she attempts suicide, is everything her mother is...

Dr. Gordon

Dr. Gordon is the first psychiatrist that Esther visits when she becomes depressed. In contrast...

Doreen

Esther instantly connects with Doreen, a fellow intern at the magazine. A southern belle, Doreen...

Jay Cee

Like Dr. Nolan, Jay Cee, Esther's boss at the magazine, is another alternative mother figure for...

Philomena Guinea

As the benefactor funding Esther's college scholarship, Philomena Guinea swoops in when Esther...

Constantin

Constantin, a translator at the United Nations that Esther meets through Mrs. Willard, is set up...

Marco

Marco is, according to Esther, the "woman-hater." And that pretty much sums him up. Esther gets...

Eric

Eric is a young man that Esther meets at college when his date stands him up. Like Marco, Eric...

Irwin

Irwin, a mathematics professor Esther meets at Harvard's Widener Library, is the not-so-lucky man...

Dodo Conway

Dodo Conway is Mrs. Greenwood's fertile neighbor. With six children and another on the way, Dodo...

Miss Norris

At Caplan, a dorm at the psychiatric institution, Esther instantly connects with Miss Norris,...

Valerie

Valerie is another patient Esther meets at Caplan. Valerie is cheerful in a creepy way because...

DeeDee

DeeDee is a patient that Esther meets at Wymark, another dorm at the psychiatric institution for...

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