Lara asked:

Someone explain Joan to me. I can sense that there's some big symbolic purpose to her that's flown over my head. I didn't care about her or her story or the reasons for what happened to her, and I'd love it explained.

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Johanna For me Joan represented the sturdy functioning type of person who you imagine sails through life without a hitch. When she appeared to have mental health issues it almost seemed like she was dabbling in it, a bit of a project to see how life in a clinic may be. It's a big lesson in never knowing the turmoil that goes on inside even the strongest seeming person's head.
Joseph Rouhana She's what Esther would have become if not for her recovery
Carole She's the twisted mirror image.
Denise Luna I understood that Joan is a mirror of Esther but, she was in love with Esther and due to the time was written, were hard times for that. Esther rejected her so she committed suicide because of that...

Sorry for the bad English :)
Chris Joan was not real. She only lived in Ester's head.
Prateek GOYAL Yeah, Joan is interesting. Horsey . Esther did not like her at all. She also died suddenly. Esther was jealous of her maybe, because they shared Willard. She could be a figment of imagination also, as the book says once.
Abbie she is basically a mirror of Ester, of what she could have been if it wasn't for the help she received for her mental health.
IvanOpinion As the book is semi-autobiographical, perhaps Joan is there merely because someone like Joan was there in Plath's life? Did Plath invent her to serve a purpose in the novel or just reflect the randomness of events in her own life?

I'm just speculating, though. I haven't researched whether there was a Joan.
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