Los Angeles Notebook by Didion Analysis

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In Joan Didion’s essay Los Angeles Notebook, the author argues that the Santa Ana winds can have a profound effect on the mental state of individuals living in the area. Didion describes the winds as bringing an unnatural stillness and tension to the air, causing people to become anxious and fearful. The winds can also lead to physical symptoms, such as restlessness and insomnia. Didion supports her argument with facts from medical professionals and examples of how even the most civilized individuals can be affected by the winds. Through her use of vivid language and detailed descriptions, Didion effectively conveys the impact of the Santa Ana winds on the people of Los Angeles.

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Is it possible that in this literal, close-minded, needy world that a grace of Santa Ana wind can over power our body with distress and depression? Joan Didion’s masterfully composed essay, Los Angeles Notebook, conveys her view on the Santa Ana winds. Didion argues that a gentle touch of the wind will rapidly have one fall into a coma of distress and despair. Entering the season of Santa Ana winds, local residents brace themselves. Citizens become cautious and fearful with their lives when facing “something uneasy in the Los Angeles air…some unnatural stillness, some tension. When the winds make their stealthy presence people become afflicted by it. Didion’s intellectual diction expresses exactly this. She uses these specific words; “uneasy”, “unnatural stillness”, and “tension” to describe the wind and stir up the reader’s emotion making them aware and awed by the situation. Didion draws one in by setting up the story with something abnormal that is bound to happen. These chosen words to depict air, ironically, are the opposite of how air is portrayed in society.

Air is something calm and gentle that we routinely inhale; it is our life long companion. Having to live in the condition of dry, torturous wind will make it impeccably impossible for one to stay composed. One can only absorb so much of the Santa Ana winds and overflowing that limit will cause chaos, “the Pacific turned out ominously glossy during a Santa Ana period, and one woke in the night troubled…by the eerie absence of surf. ” Didion’s sophisticated choice of words leads to the vivid images she sets in our mind such as the irresistibly delicious ocean water.

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She introduces us to the few symptoms of Santa Ana winds. We are tempted to dive into the soothing ocean and glide on the gentle waves. But once night creeps up, the waves rest and sleep, which make people irritable. The contagious wind has the ability to sneak up on one and motivate them to do things they wouldn’t consider in years, “meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husband’s necks. Anything can happen. ” Didion refers to others perspectives to prove her point.

Ones who you expect to be civilized and proper become frantic because of the impact of the wind. Didion’s selection of detail portrays the apprehension that overcomes Los Angeles whenever Santa Ana winds blow. Many things that go on in life will have an effect on you whether you notice it or not. It can be as natural as the Santa Ana winds to the newest artificial gadget from a mechanistic view of human behavior, “whenever and wherever a foehn blows, doctors hear about…’nervousness’, about ‘depression’. Didion supports her view by collection facts from educated professionals. This further conveys her view that Santa Ana winds are attached to peculiar situations and behaviors of humans. Didion mainly uses diction and selection of detail to allow herself to express her opinion. Even before the wind enters or makes an appearance in ones surroundings, you sense its arrival which switches your mind to worry. You become afflicted by the positive ions of the wind and fall into a coma of nervousness and ruin.

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Los Angeles Notebook by Didion Analysis. (2018, Feb 26). Retrieved from


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