Examples Of Syntax In Joan Didion

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Year of Magical Thinking: Motif and Purpose
Joan Didion’s motif was created by using synthesis and syntax throughout her narrative. One syntax that Didion used very frequently was shift in syntax. One of Didion’s motif was lack of control, and when she used shift in syntax, it expressed to the reader that her mind would be jumping from place to place without having much control. One example is shift in syntax is on page 152, because Didion goes from explaining Alcestis and questioning with a frantic tone “…If the dead were truly to come back, what would they come back knowing? Could we face them? We who allowed them to die? The clear light of day tells me that I did not allow John to die, that I did not have the power, but do I believe that? Does he?” (Didion 152) and shifts to explaining how people live by symbols with a more calm tone “Survivors look back and see omens, messages they missed. They remember the tree that died, the gull that splattered onto the hood of the car. They live by symbols…” (Didion 152). The
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Didion wrote it years before John died, but after she reread it, she realized it described herself after his death. “Of course we would not need those last six notes to know what Elena’s dreams were about. Elena’s dreams were about dying. Elena’s dreams were about getting old…The point is that Elena remained remote most of all to herself, a clandestine agent who had so successfully compartmentalized her operation as to have lost access to her own cutouts” (Didion 159-160). This ties into Didion’s motif, lack of control because during this period of grief she is having dreams of not being able to save John from dying such as when he left on a plane without her and Didion is in the car watching him leave, having no way to get to him (Didion 160-161). This portrays her obsession of thinking she could have saved him from dying, but she
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