"Goodbye to All That" Analytical Essay

733 Words Jul 24th, 2006 3 Pages
A Fair City

I could speak of Joan Didion's use of rhetorical devices. I could describe every subtle simile she imposes and preach of her incredible use of personification, but I think the most important piece of the essay would, then, be neglected. In "Goodbye to All That," Didion compares her experiences in New York to the occurrences at a fair. This metaphor is discussed in a very roundabout way. Ultimately, though, Didion (like anybody) grew tired and dissatisfied with the fair (in her case NYC).
Fairs lure people in through the gates with bright lights, loud buzzers, and exhilarating games. These same tactics help to attract tourists to New York City. Like a kid at a fair, Didion becomes enticed by such distractions and cannot
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She admits, "Even that late in the game I still liked going to parties, all parties, bad parties" (p.687). The connection to the fair in this case stems from a child's ability to be so keyed up and eager to play as many games as they can, that they will even play games they do not like. "Bad" games (Intentional fragment).
This view and interest of the city, this time at the fair, ends. The ending is not a definite point in time, but instead a gradual distaste for the details. Like the same child at the same fair, at the same time, every year, Didion outgrows the city and is no longer intrigued. She states, "I stopped believing in new faces" (p.687) and realizes, "It is distinctively possible to stay too long at the Fair" (p.687). She cannot stand the identical conversations at Grand Central, the stuck up women on Madison Ave., Times Square, or the New York Public Library. Eventually, Didion avoids these places. Like a boy who has outgrown the annual fair, she promises to return after a six-month leave of absence.
Three years after Didion made that promise, she finds herself returning to the fair. Back in New York, she realizes her acquaintances are no more and her friends had moved. She states, "We stayed for ten days, and then we took the afternoon flight back to Los Angeles" (p.688). Boys, a couple years removed from the correct age for attending the fair, promise to return. Sometimes they do return and sometimes they do not. Like Didion did, they…

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