Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is one of the most profound books I have read in a long time. It's melancholic story is told by Jean-Dominique Bauby, who was the editor-in-chief of French Elle. He was a man who had everything a man could dream: women, love, children, money, fame, and a handsome face. But all is ruined on December 8, 1995, when he lapses into a stroke, which is followed by 20 days in a coma.
Jean-Dominique wakes in a hospital, not able to speak or move. His doctor informs him that he has what they call 'locked-in-syndrome'. People who have this condition can neither move nor speak. Fortunately, they can hear, and their mind remains in moderate condition. Jean-Dominique can blink his only left eye, for his right eye had an irrigation problem and had to be sown.
Being an important man, he receives impeccable medical attention. He is able to write his autobiography with a blink of an eye with his transcriber using French language ordered-frequency alphabet (letters are arranged from most frequently used to rarely used, and when the speaker comes to the letter the patient wants, the patient blinks.) He wrote his life using this, with one blink meaning 'yes', and two blinks meaning 'no'. His lover comes to see him, along with the two girls and one boy he had with her. His wife, however, dares not to come, for her will to remember Jean-Dominique as he was before the stroke. As Jean-Dominique is prisoner in his own body, his father is a prisoner in his room, for he is too old to walk down stares and has nobody to help him.
With 200,000 blinks, and in ten months, Jean-Dominique finished his book, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and died ten days later from pneumonia.

Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

Zero_Kiryu This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 8, 2009 at 11:03 pm
Is this a true story? It sounds very far fetched and something I would want to read. Great job. ZERO
Site Feedback