Joan Didion's on Going Home- Analysis Essay

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In Joan Didion’s essay, “On Going Home” Didion describes her experiences and thoughts on what defines her meaning of home. Didion uses many asyndetons and polysyndetons to emphasize her emotions and poses several rhetorical questions. Throughout the essay, Didion poses an important point that, perhaps her generation is the last to truly know the meaning behind the word “home”. The contributing factors to such conclusion derived from her personal experiences with her direct family (mother, father, and brother), her husband, and even her own daughter.
Didion first sets her definition of home by clarifying that to her, home means “not where [her] husband and [she] and the baby live, but the place where [her] family is.” (Didion1) Her diction reflects the way she thinks about her home, with words such as “troublesome” that give off a negative connotation. Although she defines this place as her home, she expresses how she changes personalities and formalities in front of her parents and brother, which her husband is unfamiliar with. This transformation represents her familiarity with her family, whom she grew up with, or her childhood. However, since she is not in her childhood anymore, this familiarity is somewhat uncomfortable to her and her husband, whom Didion is more accustomed with. She, therefore, calls her “home” a “burden” (Didion2) where her source of tension and drama come from. Didion’s relationship with her husband reflects what she left behind at “home”. When Didion visits her family with her husband, she returns to her ‘old self’ whom her husband sees as “difficult, oblique, deliberate, [and] deliberately inarticulate” (Didion1) merely because he is not used to it and is unfamiliar with it. Her husband’s views on her family’s talks and mementos reflect the inevitable change that occurs when one leaves his or her home. Since she left her home and created a…...

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