Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Isolation as a Means of Resolving Despair 12th Grade

In both “Guaymas, Sonora” and “Goodbye to All That,” isolation is a motif that transitions in its meaning. In “Guaymas, Sonora,” Didion’s isolation is tied to her escapism. On the other hand, in “Goodbye to All That,” isolation accompanies Didion’s search to solve her despair in a youthful desire for independence. In both essays, Didion returns to a life in which she is not isolated. The motif of isolation illustrates how physical and mental isolation do not contain the ability to resolve emotional conflicts.

In “Goodbye to All That,” the physical settings of New York City and California illustrate Didion’s physical isolation, revealing how her acquisition of independence was aligned with her sadness. To some extent, New York is a city in which Didion will not be physically isolated. However, she is in a mental state of isolation during her time in New York which is exemplified when she addresses how she does not mention her struggles in the “letters [she] wrote to California”. California, another physical location, is the setting which Didion was attempting to physically avoid, where she feels dependent and trapped. By physically detach herself from the people she knows across the country, Didion is seeking independence....

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