“Grief” by Joan Didion Analysis

Grief by Joan Didion is a unique piece that causes one to deeply think about death and loss. She lets us view the difference between reality, what we expect to happen to us emotionally and what we occurs after a loss. She states, “Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it” (929). She uses many metaphors to emphasize how death and loss can rarely be expected. Based on how she describes grief,  and the events surrounding it, one can tell that she has greatly struggled with the experience of grief herself. After reading, I realized that she lost her husband. Throughout the passage, she compares the loss and grief of someone to geology. One day, the landscape would be here, and the next day it can be easily taken away, just as her old house was. One very important quote in her text was, “As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, which I interpreted as a literal description of the constant changing of the earth, the unending erosion of the shores and mountains, the inexorable shifting of the geological structures that could throw up mountains and islands and could just as reliably take them  away” (930). This was something she believed would always happen and not be anticipated, nor could it be prevented. Because of this mindset, she struggled to find great meaning in her life.

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3 thoughts on ““Grief” by Joan Didion Analysis

  1. I definitely understand where you’re coming from in how Didion describes grief to be impossible to anticipate accurately.But in contrary to your ending, I think it was Didion’s struggle to find meaning in life that she landed upon the belief in the ever-changing world.

  2. I agree with you about how Joan Didion did not take the death of her husband very well. She does compare the grief she has for her husbands death to geology because like natural disasters it’s unpredictable. However, it’s expected for change to happen and just like an earthquake it can change everything. I think she had hoped that her husbands death was meaningful or more anticipated for her to better prepare herself for the loss.

  3. I enjoyed your analysis of Joan Didion’s interpretation of grief. You captured what she meant when she included those natural disasters, the geological aspects, and their connection to grieving. I liked that you included the verse from the Bible that she used in her story because you inserted your own interpretation of the quote as well as Didion’s view.

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