“Georgia O’Keeffe” by Joan Didion Analysis

“Style is character” (Didion 853). This quote states the most prevalent theme of this profile. Based on Georgia O’Keeffe’s style in her personality, past and paintings, Didion is able to translate who Georgia O’Keeffe is as a person. Her paintings, statements towards people’s opinions and her past is the focus and angle that Didion uses to profile O’Keeffe. O’Keeffe was described as a “hard” person. Didion states, “She is simply hard, a straight shooter, a woman clean of received wisdom and open to what she sees. This is a woman who could early on dismiss most of her contemporaries as “dreamy,” and would later single out on she liked as “a very poor painter” (Didion 855). This quote states how Didion views O’Keeffe as an artist. O’Keeffe seems to be very blunt and free to speak her mind, which was very powerful for a woman in the early 1900s. Her strength also showed through her response to what men considered her to do and not do. Didion writes what “the men” say is impossible and what O’Keefe des to prove herself. Didion repeats O’Keeffe’s words, “I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower you hung all your associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see — and I don’t” (Didion 857). O’Keeffe words shows the defiance and boldness she has despite whatever people think. Didion also explains O’Keeffe’s past starting out as an artist. She continually experienced rejection and criticism of her work at didn’t places she went. She continually experienced people “paint[ing] over her work” (Didion 858). This is probably what contributed to her “hard shell”. Didion finally states explain her quality, “Georgia O’Keeffe seems to have been equipped early with an immutable sense of who she was and a fairly clear understanding that she would be required to prove it” (Didion 857).

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5 thoughts on ““Georgia O’Keeffe” by Joan Didion Analysis

  1. I agree with you that style seems to be a prevalent theme in this profile, the style of O’Keeffe’s paintings help decode O’Keeffe’s character in her paintings and O’Keeffe’s personal views during the times.

  2. I like that you talked about how O’Keeffe’s character came out in her paintings because I think that is what O’Keeffe wanted to portray with her art. This in itself is a vital aspect of Georgia O’Keeffe’s life and personality; Didion did an excellent job in portraying this without actually outright stating it.

  3. I loved the quote you used from page 857. O’Keefe was not a timid, quiet woman who waited to speak only when spoken to. She was outright with her thoughts, she was a leader for the feminists merely by her personality and her refusal to conform to the societal and art norms.

  4. I too love the quote from 857. O’Keeffe was not a conformist, nor was she an intentional feminist. She was a woman that dared to be different because she wouldn’t stand for someone telling her what was right, only she had that divine right.

  5. I see what you are saying and where you are coming from when Didion talks about how she was basically wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. O’Keeffe did what she felt was right to do because she was passionate about what she wanted to do. She wasn’t a conformist; she was a woman that defied the normalities that people in that time era were use to.

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