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"goodbye to All That" Analytical Essay

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"goodbye to All That" Analytical Essay

A Fair City

I could speak of Joan Didion’s use of rhetorical devices. I could describe every subtle simile she imposes and preach of her incredible use of personification, but I think the most important piece of the essay would, then, be neglected. In “Goodbye to All That,” Didion compares her experiences in New York to the occurrences at a fair. This metaphor is discussed in a very roundabout way. Ultimately, though, Didion (like anybody) grew tired and dissatisfied with the fair (in her case NYC).

Fairs lure people in through the gates with bright lights, loud buzzers, and exhilarating games. These same tactics help to attract tourists to New York City. Like a kid at a fair, Didion becomes enticed by such distractions and cannot draw herself away from her fair, the city. Her outlook on this new city is parallel with a child’s viewpoint of his/her experience at a fair, for the first time. She states, “New York was no mere city. It was instead and infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself” (p.684). Another example of this metaphor comes when she describes the smells of the city. Any kid could recognize the scent of fried dough, and most would immediately associate the smell with the cloud of scent that looms over fair grounds. The bright lights of “fair-like” New York City snatch Didion’s attention. She describes the view from her office window and admits, “ the lights that alternately spelled out TIME and LIFE above Rockefeller Plaza; that pleased me obscurely.” Didion can be viewed as easily distracted or easily amused. Either way, she acts like a child around the pinball machine at the fair.

Didion’s childish mannerisms continue as she describes her daily agenda. Her itinerary for her daily walks from the East River to the Hudson show the selfishness and oblivion she has for others’ desires. She reminds me of a kid who proclaims, “Daddy first we’re going to go do bumper cars, then throw the rink around the bottle… and then the bop the gators on the head game.” The parties also occupy Didion. She admits, “Even that late in the game I still liked going to parties, all parties, bad parties” (p.687). The connection to the fair in this case stems from a child’s ability to be so keyed up and eager to play as many games as they can, that they will even play games they do not like. “Bad”

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