The Bell Jar
Analysis: Narrator Point of View
Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?
First Person (Central Narrator)
All the events in The Bell Jar are filtered through the main character, Esther Greenwood. It's as if we're parked directly inside her head, hearing all of her thoughts, seeing everything that she sees, and feeling every single thrill of fear, disgust, delight, and shock. The limitation of this narrative point of view is that it's tough to get an objective view of Esther or a fuller account of the other characters. This intensely subjective point of view is somewhat moderated by the fact that the events are narrated from the perspective of an older Esther, at some point after the events described in the novel. This narrative perspective, however, is only very briefly mentioned in the first chapter; the narrative in general hews to the young Esther's point of view.