Innocence, Loss, and Recovery in the Art of Joan Didion
The art of Joan Didion compels us to consider one essential question: What is the moral significance of our nation's mythic and historic quest for paradise in American culture today? The author's relentless exploration of this frontier leads through the wasteland of despair and chaos that she sees in modern America. Didion's steady gaze at the disorder provides her with the themes she needs for the stories she tells. Her stories are «Western» stories: they are about America's moral wilderness; her protagonists are women who pioneer their way through this territory and find the inner resources they need to survive the experience of their modern-day lives. Didion's achievement as a writer lies in her ability to use biblical images to tell her story of the wilderness. This technique challenges the reader to seek out not only the meaning of our individual experience, but also the significance of the American community poised between its original vision of order and purpose and its contemporary condition of breakdown and failure. Yet, Didion's bleak version of this frontier story is not without hope.
Loris, Michelle Carbone. Innocence, Loss and Recovery in the Art of Joan Didion. New York: P. Lang, 1989. Print.