Analysis of Diving Bell and the Butterfly Essay

Analysis of Diving Bell and the Butterfly Essay

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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a script which falls somewhere in the middle of the Classical Design Triangle. It presents moments of causality in a non-linear temporal arrangement. The single protagonist, Jean-Dominique Bauby, is passive due to his affliction yet struggling with both his inner conflict to resolve his life’s choices and the external conflict to regain some semblance of a normal existence. Plot points for this script were not as clearly defined as they are in a script which fully utilizes the Classical Hollywood narrative structure. Some categories of the beat sheet were difficult to realize and therefore my interpretation at some points may be purely subjective and coerced.
The script’s opening image defines the film’s POV, by using the camera to subjectively identify our protagonist’s recent affliction as he awakens paralyzed from a stroke induced coma. Jean-Dominique Bauby, a.k.a. Jean-Do, is informed of his condition by the doctor. He is unable to respond to the doctor’s questions, which sets-up the conflict that he will struggle to communicate his thoughts throughout the script. As Jean-Do looks around his hospital room, we are informed by pictures and drawings beside his bed that he was a successful editor of a fashion magazine who led a comfortable and pleasurable lifestyle. There are images of his children alongside drawings that they have made for him. There is a sense of hopelessness and despair expressed through his interior monologue when he asks, “Is this life”? There are several unified themes stated in the opening pages of the script. First, there is a bell heard in the distance which informs the reader that our protagonist is trying to somehow communicate with others, but cannot do so throug...


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...isability and personal relationships, but never completely loses the hope that he will someday again live a normal existence. His father, on the other hand, seems to recognize that Jean-Do is lost forever and that they will never see each other again.
When the script breaks into Act 3, we find Jean-Do resigned to accept his condition. He realizes that he is just passing time in the same place and will continue to do so season after season and year after year.
In the finale, Jean-Do’s book is published soon after he dies from pneumonia. The final transcription of his books narrative details the moment of his stroke, which was a moment he had to struggle to recall. The use of symbolic inserts help to inform the reader as to Jean-Do’s final moment. A butterfly flaps its wings loudly, resembling a heartbeat, as it flies away leaving a flower swaying in the breeze.

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