A Comparison of Joan Gilling and Esther Greenwoods in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

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A Comparison of Joan Gilling and Esther Greenwoods in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Have you ever heard of the term “doppelgănger”? If not, it means “double” in German. To say that the character, Joan Gilling, is Esther Greenwoods “double” in the novel “The Bell Jar”, by Sylvia Plath, would be an understatement. Esther and Joan are one in the same. Joan and Esther endure many of the same obstacles throughout the novel. Joan’s actions to these struggles ultimately make Esther come to terms with reality. Either change her ways, and move on with her life, or end up like Joan, dead. In the novel, Esther Greenwood, the main character, is a young woman, from a small town, who wins a writing competition, and …show more content…

Both Esther and Joan had difficulty making decisions about their lives, because they always had to consider how others would see them. Another common aspect of both the women’s lives is that they both dated Buddy Willard. When Esther began to have a relationship with Buddy, she thought that her relationship with him could go somewhere, that he could possibly be her husband one day. When she is in his room one night, they are talking and having wine, and Esther asks Buddy if he has ever had an “affair”. She expects him to say “no”, but he says, “Well, yes I have” (70). This is shocking to Esther. She thought Buddy was innocent, but he had been pretending the whole time. She tells Buddy to tell her about it, so he doesn’t think it bothered her that he said “yes”. He tells her that while working at this hotel in Cape Cod for the summer, one of the waitresses seduced him, and that’s how he lost his virginity. Esther and Buddy eventually part, but she doesn’t break up with him because he had slept with the waitress, it was the fact that he didn’t have the courage to admit it from the beginning. She disliked the fact that Buddy was dishonest with her, that he was secretive. Joan’s relationship with Buddy didn’t last either. Joan got annoyed with Buddy because he acted like a know-it-all. She says to Esther, “I never

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