The Memory Of Joy In Present Grief

459 (1 page)
Download for Free
Important: This sample is for inspiration and reference only

Grief is something everyone deals with, and the process of grieving is generally universal. Joan Didion addresses this grieving process in The Year of Magical Thinking in which she writes about her thoughts and actions in response to her husband dying. In an excerpt from Joan Didion’s memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, Didion gives an insight into her mind during her time of grief by using contrasting diction to present an ambivalent tone and blatant variation in syntax to emphasize a more pained, yet nostalgic tone.

No time to compare samples?
Hire a Writer

✓Full confidentiality ✓No hidden charges ✓No plagiarism

Didion uses contrasting diction to accentuate her contradicting feelings toward being reminded about past memories of her deceased husband. At one point, Didion finds herself in a hotel which held many memories from when her husband was alive. She realizes that this hotel does not evoke as much pain despite “[how] it’s corridor was permeated with the associations [Didion] was trying to avoid” (Didion 113). Later, Didion states, “Yet the [hotel] seemed…the only safe place where everything would be the same” (Didion 114). The harsh words used, such as “permeated” and “avoid” are used in contrast to more reassuring words like “safe” and “same”. By incorporating these contradicting words into the same scene, Didion establishes an ambivalent tone: she understands that she is in a place where she feels safe from feeling pain from being reminded about her past, however she realizes that it is a place where a lot of memories were created; she does not know how to feel about this, and to convey this confusion, she uses contracting diction.

Didion also uses varied sentence structure to establish a nostalgic tone. She remembers all the times she came to this hotel with her husband and daughter, notably the times when Didion and her husband would, “…work until eight or nine in the evening [at the hotel]…transmit [their work] to whichever director or producer [they] were working with…and then go to dinner at a Chinese restaurant on Melrose where [they] did not need a reservation” (Dillard 114). The sentence is filled with details describing what Didion and her husband would do when they stayed at the hotel for work. She elaborates on the idea that she knew this hotel well when she recalls, “[She] knew the housekeepers. [She] knew the manicurists. [She] knew the doorman…” (Didion 114). The immediate juxtaposition between the long detailed sentence with the series of short, choppy sentences suggests that the author is nostalgic but is also pained that these events can no longer happen.

Joan Didion uses contrasting diction to highlight her conflicting emotions and blatant variation in her sentences to convey a nostalgic tone on her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking”. Not everyone experiences grief in the same way, but the process of grieving is usually similar.

You can receive your plagiarism free paper on any topic in 3 hours!

*minimum deadline

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below

Copy to Clipboard
The Memory Of Joy In Present Grief. (2020, July 15). WritingBros. Retrieved June 18, 2024, from
“The Memory Of Joy In Present Grief.” WritingBros, 15 Jul. 2020,
The Memory Of Joy In Present Grief. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 Jun. 2024].
The Memory Of Joy In Present Grief [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Jul 15 [cited 2024 Jun 18]. Available from:
Copy to Clipboard

Need writing help?

You can always rely on us no matter what type of paper you need

Order My Paper

*No hidden charges