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Buddy Willard is a former boyfriend of Esther who often preoccupies her thoughts. Although she initially believed Buddy Willard to be essentially perfect, Esther comes to hate Buddy because of his hypocrisy, for he appreciates Esther for her purity despite the fact that he had an affair with a waitress. A medical student, Buddy contracts TB and must stay at a hospital in the Adirondacks. Buddy represents a dominant and condescending male sexuality from which Esther attempts to escape and rebel.