Joel is the character who most draws Alice out of her shell and teaches her to trust others. As someone who has experienced loss (his father died when he was young), he is a comfort to Alice when her grandmother dies. Alice has difficulty relating her past experiences to him, but he accepts her for who she is and loves her more for opening up to him. He restores Alice's faith in romantic love, shattered after so many debased sexual experiences. He is also a paragon of virtue, a dedicated student whom her whole family loves.