Didion: Electric Charge and Santa Ana Winds

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Didion Text Analysis Essay
In the essay, “Los Angeles Notebook”, Joan Didion outlines the uncontrollable effects of the Santa Ana winds. She conveys her views of the Santa Ana winds as a fierce force of nature by describing its effects on the residents and environment. The tone is very precise and vivid. The overall basis of the passage is how the Santa Ana Winds affects the natives. And it’s through her use of imagery, diction, syntax, and selection of detail that she expresses her view of the Santa Ana Winds.

From the beginning of the passage, Didion tries to capture the attention of the readers through her usage of uneasy, negative diction throughout the stories. However in the second half of the passages, Didion expresses her views with scientific detail. An example of the scientific detail portray is when she describes the effect on the environment preceding the phenomenon. The quote is “the air carries an unusually high ratio of positive to negative ions.” She furthermore uses another quote to back up the scientific claim; the quote is “in any case the positive ions are there, and what an excess of positive ions does, in simplest terms, is make people unhappy.” These quotes show that Didion is able to express that the “Santa Ana Winds” have a profound effect on the environment scientifically.

Secondly, In the “los Angeles Notebook”, Didion illustrates the negative imagery by establishing the winds with humanistic qualities. One example of the imagery is when Didion recalls a folk tale that she was told when she first moved to Los Angeles. The tale was that the native Indians would jump into the ocean in of “the Santa Ana.” The exact quote was, “…was living on an isolated beach, that the Indians would throw themselves into the sea when the bad wind blew…” This to me shows the psychological effect that came with wind. Just the sheer thought of people committing suicide cause of wind, was the icing on the cake; that the Santa Ana Winds are an evil...
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