12 March 2007
“The Santa Ana“
by Joan Didion
In this article, Joan Didion talked about a hot, dry wind called Santa Ana that comes from the northeast blowing into the Los Angeles area. The author described how an extreme weather can have tormenting effects on human behavior because of the change in temperature and environment.
Didion referred to the weather before the Santa Ana as “the earthquake weather” which makes the atmosphere very hot, quiet and stilled. She also stated that Santa Ana is like the foehn wind in Austria and Switzerland during which many people feel headaches, depressions, agitated, frustrated and aggressive. According to an Israeli physicist’s discovery a few years ago, a very high ratio of positive ions makes people “unhappy”. It was said in the article that, before and during the Santa Ana, many firefighters and equipments from northern California are brought into the Southern forests to fight the forest fires like in Malibu(1956), Bel Air(1961), Santa Barbara(1964) and San Gabriel Mountains(1966-67) that killed eleven firefighters. Normally, Santa Ana is said to be lasted for three to four days although there had been a fourteen days long Santa Ana period in 1957 that has been known as the longest. 25,000 acres of San Gabriel Mountains were burned on the very first day followed by numbers of traffic accidents, murders and suicides in the paper each day.
In the last part of the article, Didion says “The city burning is Los Angeles’ deepest image of itself” and “For days one could drive the Harbor freeway and see the city on fire”. The author compared Los Angeles’ weather to the long winters of New England to show that weather in Los Angeles has its extreme nature that has severe effects on how people react to the incidents and to each other during Santa Ana.
The Santa Ana
Didion’s main attention was subjected to the Santa Ana and...
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