"because she looked stern and hard-working and moral as an old-style European immigrant and reminded me of my Austrian grandmother"
Immigrants landing at Ellis Island, New York Harbour (c.1900)
Public DomainImmigrants landing at Ellis Island, New York Harbour (c.1900) - Credit: Brown Brothers

Although most of the real-life individuals fictionalised in The Bell Jar are somewhat modified, the narrator's close family are very accurate replicas of Plath's own relatives.

Plath's maternal grandmother, whose married name was Aurelia Schober, was an Austrian immigrant to the United States. (Aurelia was also the name of Sylvia Plath's mother).