Analysis Of The Year Of Magical Thinking By Joan Didion

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Magical thinking is the anthropological idea that if one performs the right actions, or hopes enough for something, their desired outcome will happen. The concept of “magical thinking” is one of the central ideas discussed in Joan Didion’s memoir The Year of Magical Thinking. This memoir explores the grief experienced by the author after losing her husband of nearly forty years. In no way does Didion try to approach death poetically, but rather honestly and practically. She bravely discusses the universal, yet rarely talked about, aspects of death, such as self pity, regret, isolation, secretly going crazy, and the phenomenon she describes as “magical thinking.” In this personal account, Didion shares with us the darkest year of her life, and dares to tell the truth about it.…show more content…
Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. The question of self-pity.” (p. 3) These are the first words of the book, and the first words Didion writes after losing her husband, John Gregory Dunne, to a sudden massive coronary event on the evening of December 30, 2003. The couple had just returned to their apartment to have dinner after visiting their daughter, Quintana, in the hospital. Quintana had been unconscious for days and was suffering from pneumonia and septic shock. Didion recalls that she was mixing the salad for dinner when she noticed her husband stop mid-sentence and slump over. Within an hour of calling the paramedics, John was pronounced dead (p. 22). Within an hour, her husband had gone from living and breathing in his living room recliner, to a death certificate marked 10:18 p.m. Immediately, Didion begins her quest for answers, explanations, and solutions; solutions that, in her mind, might bring John

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