The Bell Jar By Sylvia Plath Character Analysis Doctor Nolan

She is the third successful woman figure in the novel who tries to help Esther. She is a slim, young psychiatrist and works at the private hospital where Esther is given insulin and electro-shock treatments after she is transferred from the state hospital. Dr. Nolan is a kind, helpful therapist, but she is wrong not to consult Esther before her first shock treatment as she promised. Even though Dr. Nolan arrives early at the hospital, Esther already knows that she is due for shock treatment because she did not receive any breakfast.


Dr. Nolan tries to be warm and supportive, but she is not an intellectual equal of Esther, and Esther does not totally trust her. Dr. Nolan helps Esther by advising her about getting a diaphram, and, thus, in a practical way, she helps Esther with her fears about sex and getting pregnant. We suspect that Dr. Nolan encourages Esther to leave the hospital before Esther is ready to be self-sufficient, but otherwise one cannot fault this woman for trying to do her best, with the limited techniques and ideas available to her.

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