The role of the first-person narrator when dealing with mental illness
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This thesis examines how the first-person narrator alters reader perception in a story about mental illness. The role genre plays with the first-person narrator when talking about mental illness is also important when distinguishing how it can affect the perspective. Therefore, I included both fiction and non-fiction texts. The three texts work together to show how the first-person narrator allows access for the reader. The novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, uses the epistolary form to provide a subjective experience for the reader about what the protagonist is going through. The novel, The Bell Jar, on the other hand, uses reactions from other people around the main character to emphasize how the main character is perceived by others. The memoir, Girl, Interrupted, takes other people’s perspective of the main character one step further by adding doctors' reports and other documents as a more objective approach to the story. With this analysis, I have concluded that the first-person narrator allows an access to the thoughts and perspective of someone dealing with a mental illness in a way that a third-person narrator cannot. The creative component then, told in third person from Dr. Hinch, a character that is observing his son dealing with mental illness, works to show the distance that a third-person narrator creates for the reader. Dr. Hinch can't offer intimate access to what his son is going through because he is not close enough to the situation. This third-person narration works to juxtapose the critical component to show how important the first-person narrator is to allow the reader access to someone dealing with a mental illness.