Essay on The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

1713 WordsNov 16, 20097 Pages
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is written from the point of view of Jean-Dominique Bauby, a French journalist and former editor-in-chief of ELLE magazine, in Paris. Bauby suffered a severe stroke on December 8, 2005, leaving him with a rare condition known as locked-in syndrome, in which the brain continues to function normally, but the body is completely paralyzed. Jean-Do retained some movement in his head and left eye, and wrote his memoir through a tedious method of blinking. An interlocutor would read aloud a special alphabet, ordered by their frequency of use in French language, and Bauby would blink whenever the person reached the correct letter (Wikipedia). Through this method, the reader is offered a glimpse into the mind…show more content…
Jean goes on to share his experiences at the hospital, explaining his life on a day-to-day basis. He talks about his different doctors and therapists, the tortures that come with an inability to move, and what it’s like to be bathed, dressed, and fed. His right eye is eventually sewn up, as the eyelid no longer functioned. Bauby describes the communication code he sets up with his speech therapist, Sandrine, in which she recites the alphabet and he blinks when she calls the right letter. Friends and family sometimes visit Jean-Do. He recounts a day he spent with his children and their mother, on the beach, for father’s day, among other visits. Bauby also reminisce about his life before the stroke, recalling his early days as a journalist, shaving his father, a pilgrimage he once took with his lover, and, finally, the day of his stroke. At the end of the book, Bauby sees the contents of a half-open purse on a nearby table, a hotel room key, a metro ticket, and a hundred-franc note, and realizes that these ordinary objects have become alien to him: remnants of a way of life he has become a stranger to. This forces Bauby to realize that he is beginning a new life, and must acknowledge this in order to move ahead. This differs from the beginning of the book, in which he only displays a longing for life to return to how it was before the stroke. It is not until he truly accepts his condition that Bauby’s mind is able to soar like a
Open Document