Literary Comparison Between Man's Search for Meaning and the Bell Jar

Topics: Psychology, Sylvia Plath, Man's Search for Meaning Pages: 3 (944 words) Published: November 13, 2008
Often when the body becomes incapacitated, the mind opens its eyes. As stated by Theodore Roethke, “In a dark time, the eye begins to see.” This quote is saying that in troubled times; one can find a way to see through the gloom. Therefore, darkness will lead to enlightenment. Both the memoire Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and the novel The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath illustrate the mind’s ability to shine light through the darkest of times. Man’s Search for Meaning shares an experience through a concentration camp from Frankl’s own eyes. In his account of the camps, Frankl describes the nature of man when subjected to immense suffering. The Bell Jar follows the plight of a young woman, Esther Greenwood, as she begins a downward spiral in her mental health, slipping farther and farther away from reality. She delves deep into a depression, suffocated by her disease like a bell jar traps its contents. In both stories, the individuals rise and fall in the sways of time and its complexities. They attest that the mind can shine through the shadows no matter what the predicament.

In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl demonstrates the distinction between the prisoners who gave into their desolate fate and those who chose to rise above it. The theme of perseverance is quite evident in his work as he carries the reader through his spiritual expedition and exemplifies the strengthening of the inner self as his condition and state of affairs steadily got worse. Perseverance represents the attitude of those prisoners who rose above their daily sufferings and emanated radiance even though their surroundings looked bleak. In a situation of their sort, a lack of hope is the predictable reaction to their circumstances. Instead, their hope becomes a beacon leading them forward in their daily struggle against emotional and physical defeat.

Another element of Viktor Frankl’s work is the point of view from which he tells his story. The memoire is a first-person...

Bibliography: Frankl, Viktor. Man 's Search for Meaning. New York: Pocket Book, 1975.
Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.
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