Analysis Of Goodbye To All That By Didion

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Slouching Towards Bethlehem is a collection of pieces mainly about life in America—particularly California but it is “anchored by—in sentiment, concern, and tone—by the final essay, Goodbye to All That.” The essay is a detailed account of her experience in New York City and ostensibly about her decision to leave New York as she realized it was no longer her home. But more than that it is an essay about growing up and gaining wisdom. Obviously, growing up means something different for every person, but for Didion it meant realizing that her personal comfort far outweighed the attempt to live the life you are supposed to live—a life that other people would be impressed by. To describe moments that compromised her New York life, Didion portrays …show more content…
As her story went on her views changed and between sometime her enchantment with New York dulled and she felt almost trapped in a world where nothing seemed to change. The essay truly reflects Didion’s transition between youth and adulthood and the newfound wisdom she seemed to gain on her life and New York.
Wisdom is defined as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment and “in its primary sense denotes the knowledge that comes with experience and is consequently often associated with age and the process of ageing .” As Aristotle says “a man of practical wisdom must be able to deliberate well about the things that are good for him. Emotional development needs to be connected to a broader and deeper reflection .” In Goodbye to All That the reader can see the journey of Didion’s ageing in big city which inevitably broke her youthful “golden rhythm.” Didion drives home the notion that New York is an idea that stands for
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In How Joan Didion the Writer Became Joan Didion The Legend , they described how Didion is “absorbed, intensely, in what’s going on around her, but is not involved; her gaze fixed, even salivating, yet also vacant. Her motto might be: See everything, hear everything, do nothing. Still, her nothing is something, her extreme passivity a form of extreme aggression. She takes events, people, places that inspire violent and chaotic feelings—passion, hope, terror, despair—and subdues them, controls them, counteracting their awesome power simply by looking at them in a certain way.” Her discovery of who she is and what she is starts with her first encounter with New York and how “some instinct, programmed by all the movies I had ever seen and all the songs I had ever heard sung and all the stories I had ever read about New York, informed me that it would never be the same” (226). Didion captured the infinite possibility of the city and the near-magical quality it can have for out-of-towners. Then the rest of her life carries on like an intricate map much like our thinking is mapped out in our brain. In looking at Project Muse which went over the syntax of Didion’s last essay the author discovered that they reflected Didion’s syntax when revising the essay and the essay is more complicated than it seems. It is an array of thoughts, as stated before a map of thoughts and “As

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