Summary Of The Year Of Magical Thinking By Joan Didion

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This week we read and discussed The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. This book is an in depth novel about a human being experiencing grief. So far, we have read books about institutions and cultures of death. However, this is the first book we have read that is a personal experience. The discussion in class about this book was a different feeling than the rest of the books we have discussed. The discussion was more emotional, as we were all moved by her writing. Didion’s style of writing resembles that of a normal thought process. She is not writing rationally, she writes about her irrational actions and thoughts. She describes herself as “demented” during her first stages of grieving (Didion 125). The way she describes John’s, her husband, death is as if she lost part of her soul when she lost him. This is understandable because they were together for over forty years. Both John and Joan were writers, which allowed them to spend ample amounts of time together. She remembers their fighting, routines, quirks, and she recounts them all in this moving book. Didion read Aries, and this…show more content…
The invisible death is shows by the institution that handled John’s death. Joan discovered, when she received the autopsy, that her husband died right at the moment he hit his head at the dinner table. However, the paramedics and doctors went through the motions as if he wasn't already dead. By doing this, the hospital could charge Joan for the unnecessary services rendered and the hospital then had possession of the body to do as they pleased. When the hospital handed the body over to the undertaker, Joan describes her and the undertaker’s conversation in which Joan did not want embalming. The undertaker responded to Joan’s request of no embalming by saying that he would just “clean [John] up” (Didion 18). The idea of embalming and hospitals have proven to be essential factors in the invisible
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