Table of Contents Context Joan Didion was born in in Sacramento, California, to an Air Force officer and a homemaker whose families had lived in central California for five generations. Didion attended the University of California at Berkeley, where she studied English.
Plot summary[ edit ] The novel begins with an internal monologue by the year-old Maria Mar-eye-a Wyeth, followed by short reminiscences of her friend Helene, and ex-husband, film director Carter Lang. The further narration is conducted from a third-person perspective in eighty-four chapters of terse, controlled and highly visual prose typical of Didion.
Maria's story begins as she is recovering from a mental breakdown in a psychiatric hospital in the Los Angeles area, but soon flashes back to her life before the hospital.
A not-quite lurid view of life in Hollywood follows. Didion's late s Los Angeles is a mix of grimness and glamour.
Maria's journey oscillates between dizzying and domestic, as her acting career slows and her personal life collapses. The daughter of a gambling father and a neurotic mother who bet on a mine and lost, Maria had originally moved to New York to become an actress.
In New York, Maria works temporarily as a model and meets Ivan Costello, a psychological blackmailer who has no hesitation exploiting Maria for her money or her body. In New York, Maria receives news of her mother's death in a car wreck, possibly a suicide. Her father dies soon after, leaving useless mineral rights to his business partner and friend Benny Austin.
Maria withdraws from acting and modeling, splits up with Ivan, and eventually meets Carter and moves to Hollywood. She plunges into long nights of compulsive driving, wandering Southern California 's freeways, through motels and bars, drinking and chancing sexual encounters with actors and ex-lovers.
After a series of disasters for Maria, infidelity among her friends adds further chaos to her life. Her friend BZ commits suicide and Maria is institutionalized. From her hospital, Maria turns her visitors away, and plans for a day she might see her daughter again.
In world religions, the snake appears as a Biblical tempter, an agent in ritual suicides, an author of stratagems, and the symbol of fertility in general and male sexuality in particular. Hummingbird Maria watches a hummingbird while in the psychiatric ward. It suggests real life and tangible reality, in contrast to the superficial and empty life in Hollywood.
In the desert, Maria has trouble following road signs. He loses a house in Reno in a private wager, and puts money in uncertain business deals.
He teaches Maria to assess her chances in the game of crapswhich he compares to life. Though he never wins, Maria claims to have inherited his optimism and tenacity. Hollywood is a place where the thin line between real-world actions and fictional games is blurred. Dreams After the abortion, Maria suffers from recurring nightmares and ghastly visions featuring dead fetuses, dying children, severed body parts and plumbing.
Air conditioners Air conditioners appear regularly in this desert world, even in the Encino room where Maria undergoes abortion.
They suggest the suffocating, artificial human atmosphere that surrounds her. Carter is said to dislike air conditioners. Whiteness prefigures nothingness and obliteration of memory.Discover the best Literary Collections in Best Sellers.
Find the top most popular items in Amazon Books Best Sellers. Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays (FSG Classics) [Joan Didion] on vetconnexx.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
The first nonfiction work by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era, Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem remains/5(). How to Write a Personal Narrative.
In this Article: Article Summary Template and Sample Narrative Brainstorming Ideas for the Narrative Writing the Personal Narrative Polishing the Personal Narrative Community Q&A Personal narratives focus on a particular real life event that was pivotal or .
Didion, who was in her 30s at the time, describes her work Slouching Towards Bethlehem as the â€œfirst time I dealt directly and flatly with the evidence of atomization, the proof that all things fall apart.â€.
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I decided to get my Joan Didion on this summer in preparation for the biography that comes out next month, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem, her first essay collection, seemed like a good place to start/5(2K).