Esther And Buddy Character Analysis

1238 Words5 Pages
About men, sexuality and marriage
Throughout the novel, Esther meets many different types of men, potential love interests; however, one very important male character is Buddy Willard. Buddy Willard is one of Esther’s old friends and a former love interest; they grew up in the same town, and their mothers “had gone to school together.” The story of Esther and Buddy is told exclusively in flashbacks, often times intruding on her thoughts in various situations. Esther and Buddy’s romance started whilst they were both in college; yet, for many years Esther has admired Buddy from a distance. However, being the son of Mrs Willard, Buddy has traditional views on marriage, and of course, expects Esther to confine herself to the life of a housewife.
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Throughout the novel, it becomes clear that the subject of virginity and sexuality is something consistently weighing Esther down, many times her decisions are based on her need for sexual liberation. Esther, on a date with the simultaneous interpreter Constantin, reflects on an article she once read “[giving] all the reasons why a girl shouldn’t sleep with anybody but her husband and then only after they were married.” Upon reading the article, however, Esther thinks to herself “It might be nice to be pure and then to marry a pure man, but what if he suddenly confessed he wasn’t pure after we were married (…) I couldn’t stand the idea of a woman having to have a single pure life and a man being able to have a double life”. Clearly, Esther resents the implicit double standards; she finds it unjust to expect women to be virginal, which results in her ending her romance with Buddy Willard. The ending of her relationship with Buddy makes Esther more determined to lose her virginity, however, this is frowned upon by society. Wagner argues that “Losing one’s virginity unwisely seldom determines the eventual life of the male protagonist; it is the stuff of ostracism, madness and suicide for a female, however.” Esther knows what her choices will mean for her, however as she expresses before finally losing her virginity, “Ever since I’d learned about the corruption of Buddy Willard my virginity weighed like a millstone around my neck. It had been of such enormous importance to me for so long that my habit was to defend it at all costs. I had been defending it for five years and I was sick of it.” Esther sees her virginity as a burden, hindering her mission to take charge of her own life. Esther wants to be free from the sexual bonds tying her down, she wants to “shoot off in all directions [herself], like the coloured arrows from a fourth of
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