On Going Home The text “On Going Home” by Joan Didion is a personal narrative about her personal family and home life. She has identified in the text that it is the 1960’s, and she resides in Los Angeles with her husband. There is conflict when she deals with family, Didion states that her husband is different from her family in various ways; once she returns home she absorbs her families quirks and personalities (Didion, 164). The author seems as if she cannot mesh her old family life and her new family life, and is falling in to apathetic depression.
Essayist, Joan Didion, in her narrative essay, "On Keeping a Notebook," expresses how a notebook helps her keep track of her memories. Didion's intention is to explain to the reader how when she seems to only be "going through the motions"(Paragraph 8) of what she is supposed to be doing, her notes allow her to regain her sense of self. She employs a nostalgic tone in order to draw apon the curiosity in her adult readers. Didion makes her point quite heavily by use of pathos, ask & answer questions, and parenthesis. Didion begins her narrative by describing her thoughts both during and after reading an entry from her notebook.
Her writing style differs from that of other authors that we have read for a few reasons. One of those is her background. She grew up in New York and worked for Vouge in the 1960’s, and later moved to Los Angeles. This gives her a different perspective than most of the other authors. She has an editorial style to her writing, as well as a different perspective to her writing. Didion’s voice in her writing appeals to me. Her work is somewhat fragmented; this makes it appear more like poetry. It is closer to how we see the world, like the moment you heard big news, and how that moment is comprised of many things: how you felt, where you where, the people you were with, how cold it was outside. In Didion’s world, how we experience news is how we experience the world and that is why the temperature of the air and background music in the bar can seem inseparable from our experience of the event. To shear one off from the other is to only convey a part. Didion has a way of holding back while appearing to let you in. In The Year of Magical Thinking, is an autobiographical account unlike most others. Didion makes herself a case study for the craziness of grief, for the “magical thinking” that consumes people, like if you don’t let someone tell a person is dead, then the person isn’t truly dead. The precision of the works analysis coupled with its extensive display of medical research sets it
Life itself is unpredictable. In an instant, your whole life as you know it could be turned upside down or right side up, without any warning at all. On December 30, 2003, Joan Didion’s life took an unexpected turn when her husband “suffered a massive coronary event” in their living room. As she discusses in her book, he passed away despite the efforts of paramedics and doctors, and she was left to pick up the broken pieces of her life without her significant other of nearly 40 years. In the midst of all of the heartache she faced, her daughter was also comatose in the hospital after getting a severe case of pneumonia and septic shock. The book that she wrote after and during these events was titled, “The Year of Magical Thinking,”
The work "On Going Home" work is the honesty in re-defining what a home truly is. A home is known to be the place where an individual grew up or is growing up. Joan Didion redefines the word as "...the place where family is...filled with mementos" (1). Home isn't the place you live, it's the place you love. A major part of Didion's love for her home is how it ties her to the past, particularly her childhood.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion is not what one would call a “feel-good” read. It is for all those people who have lost their sense of place or sense of time or sense of self. Didion opens the book with an epigraph, a W. B. Yeats poem stating, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.” The narratives are so poetic, they seem to be myths, stories conjured from the potential lack of excitement in 1960s California. But, alas, the reports are true. It is because, in the news, one does not hear about the feelings of those a part of the life, the up-close and personal truths that seem absurd but identify almost anyone. Didion hits on universal truths by admitting extremely personal ones. The meaning is blatantly there throughout the essays, but, because it is all so raw, it seemed impossible to properly describe the feelings in words.
The essay is about a woman, Joan Didion, from the South and her experience with living in New York. It takes us through her initial enchantment with the possibilities and her ideas of New York based on what she has read and hear. Didion states that she almost lived in a fantasy world of what New York could offer, causing her never to settle down or commit to anything, in hopes of what could be just “around the corner.” As years go by, she finally realizes that actually New York was not a dream world fantasy where she could be in hopes and dreams, but it was a grim reality that had just sucked up all her time and her dreams. She never accomplished her goal of becoming a successful writer, she was “making only $65 to $70 then a week [...] so little money that some weeks [she] had to charge food at Bloomingdale’s gourmet shop in order to eat.” Yet Didion stayed until she had, “stay[ed] too long at the Fair.” What used to be new and exciting and adventurous soon
Brooks and Didion’s texts depict reflection on personal issues in many levels. They gave their audience the opportunity to know about their personal lives. The tone of their works is sad and frustrating. Didion discussed the dissimilarity between her current life with her child and husband and her childhood experience, whereas Brooks discussed the lack of freedom to do whatever she wanted to do. The frustrating and discontent tone of the authors were consistent throughout their work and were mirrored by their choice of languages in their texts. For example, Didion used words like “uneasy, degradation, condemnation, fragmentation, rejection, graveyard, ambushed, abandoned…” throughout her work and Brooks used words like “bad, jail, rough, hungry,
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Didion is explaining that the term home, now has a different meaning to the younger generation. She explains how she feels about being home and what she wishes for her young daughter. She exclaims how she cannot give the life or feeling of “home” to her daughter, like she had. “…would like to give her home for her birthday, but we life differently now and I can promise her nothing like that.” (p.637)
Both the mother and father reminence on the time passed, their past, and become emotional and somber. The father remembers a dream that he once had, and a dream that he never completed. “Perhaps this hour would become the foothold for a new unrealizable dream” (23), this dream became unrealizable and unrealistic as the father grew restless of time. Eventually he gave up, and move on to begin a family, not looking back. The mother, on the other hand, reminiscences of the elder daughter’s childhood. While in the attic, the mother find an old dress that belonged to the eldest daughter, and she became intensely attached to it. This dress reminds her of her daughter's past, and now that the daughter is moving on, she is losing touch with it. “The girl’s mother started; she had experienced the same sad sensation long ago” (24), the mother once was young liker her daughter and feared what the future held for her, but that has since passed. Time is naturally meant to move in one direction, forward, that is what makes it so terrifying. As the mother and the father reminence and remembering their past, they look back on a path that only goes forward. The mother, or the father, want to go back and change history, relive it, maybe even stop it, “The woman was also immersed in the past” (25).But since time can only pass, the realization that they cannot go back and experience their dreams or remember what it was
In this book Joan Didion shares an unabridged vision into the most intimate crevices of her own life as she learns to grieve for her husband of fifty years, fellow author John Gregory Dunne.
Choosing what significant place to write about was obvious to me. I have adored my grandmother’s house my entire life. I spent so much time there when I was younger it was my second home, which is why I chose the title “Home Away From Home”. However, there were other aspects of this paper that were rather challenging