Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar is an autobiographical account of the author's mental breakdown and suicide attempt as a young woman. Through this detailed first person account the author is able to successfully share her thoughts, feelings, and actions through the eyes of the main character Esther. The novel's descriptions are made more evident by the intense detail, which is commented on by many critics as being exceptional. .
This novel is written from a first person point of view. This viewpoint is shown through the use of such words as "I" and "me". In the beginning, the narrator states: "I knew something was wrong with me that summer because all I could think about was the Rosenburgs- (Plath 1). The first person point of view is crucial to the novel, because the reader could not understand the exact thoughts and feelings of the narrator as she falls into the depths insanity. The narrator is first identified by name through dialogue with her boss: " "Doesn't your work interest you Esther?" "Oh yes, yes it does," I said." (Plath 26). By answering to the name Esther, the narrator enforces the name of which she was called. Robert Taubman drew this conclusion about the significance of the viewpoint Miss Plath chose to write in:.
It [The Bell Jar] reads so much like the truth it is hard to disassociate her from Esther Greenwood, the "I" of the story, but she has the gift of being able to feel and yet watch herself: she can feel the desolation and yet relate it to everyday life (345).
Mr. Taubman felt the first person point of view greatly added to the novel, as it is almost entirely autobiographical and the thoughts which were portrayed would not have as much as an effect if written otherwise. Esther's thoughts show the downward spiral of her mind throughout the novel. At one point, she is speaking with a psychiatrist about her mental state, and he asks her what she thinks is wrong.