In the essay, “On Going Home,” Joan Didion’s attitude toward “home” changes from dread of tension to peace that she wishes to give her daughter. Though Didion is now grown with a child of her own, her adult family life differs in many ways from the family life of her childhood. Returning home for her daughter’s first birthday, she her feelings change about the place she once dreaded. Didion, now residing in Los Angeles, has a much faster paced life vastly different than the slower life of her family home in the Central Valley of California. The tension of her family makes even phone conversations hard to endure.
The anxiety Didion had concerning her childhood home are unknown in the beginning of the essay as Didion states, “I had by all objective accounts a “normal” and a “happy” family situation, and yet I was almost thirty years old before I could talk to my family on the telephone without crying after I had hung up. We did not fight. Nothing was wrong. And yet some nameless anxiety colored the emotional charges between me and the place that I came from. ” After being home with familiar family conversations and keepsakes scattered among her parent’s home, she begins to feel a peace and need for her family.
Her husband does not understand the significance of the dust covered memories in the home, but Didion encounters them with every turn from a picture of her grandfather as a young man to the tea cups painted by her grandmother. When her husband calls with updates of “their remote life in Los Angeles,” and encourages her to get out and drive to San Francisco, she decides to, instead, drive to the family cemetery to visit. This visit suggests that she enjoys the peacefulness of her old family life.
Homer: His Life and His Works Greeks had used writing since c. 1400 BC, but it was not until the late 8 th century BC that their literature was first written down. Greek literature began in Ionia with the brilliant epics of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey. These mature products of a long tradition of oral poetry brought together a vast body of divine and heroic myths and sagas that served as a ...
After visiting with her great-aunts, who don’t comprehend even who she is, and a trip to her father’s ranch, Didion continues to feel the comforts of home. After her daughter’s birthday party, she gazes at her daughter through the crib, thinking of the piece of family life she can offer her. Knowing that the life they live now is much different, she states, “I would like to give her more. I would like to promise her that she will grow up with a sense of her cousins and of rivers and of her great-grandmother’s teacups, would like to pledge her a picnic on the river with fried chicken and her hair uncombed,
would like to give her home for her birthday, but we live differently now and I can promise her nothing like that. ” Now, recognizing the importance of her home, Didion’s attitude towards it has changed. Home no longer threatens the anxiety that a phone call once delivered or the dread of tension and drama that it did before. The time Didion spent with her family and all the memories that she embraced helped her to see what a happy place home could be.