Joan Didion Essay On Santa Ana Winds

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Watching the palm trees that line Zuma Beach do improbably strenuous backbends.

Dreading the morning when you wake up to notice that the natural light is ever so slightly off.

As Didion puts it, “We know it because we feel it.” On Thursday, I explained to my mom over Face Time the supposed chemistry behind why she can’t sleep during Santa Anas.

The next day, in London, I woke up to a text message from her: “Winds completely gone all of a sudden at our house.

Beyond Didion’s seminal essay from her Los Angeles Notebook, there is Raymond Chandler’s piece (pdf) on the winds that “curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch.” The Beach Boys, Randy Newman, and Tim Buckley all referenced the winds and their mysterious effects in their lyrics.

Even an episode plot line of the musical-comedy TV series personifies the winds as a camp singing character who “makes things weird.”Often, these creators blame the winds for that edgy, anxious-by-proxy feeling I’ve had all week.For that reason, they loom large in the collective local psyche.But perhaps it is because so many writers, filmmakers, musicians, and modern-day content creators have tried their luck in Los Angeles that the Santa Anas have taken on such elevated meaning in popular culture.One study from UC Berkeley found that human prevention and mitigation efforts haven’t changed the fact that large, Santa Ana-enabled fires have occurred in Santa Barbara (just north of Ventura County) every couple of decades for nearly 600 years.As the National Parks Service, writing about the Santa Monica mountains, rather glumly put it: “The fact that large fires have continued to occur steadily though different historic periods with very different approaches to fire suppression suggest that the incidence of large fires is primarily determined by fire weather, and that it is substantially unaffected by even our best modern attempts at fire suppression.”Indeed, whether we like to admit it or not, the Santa Anas—and the fires they bring—are a fact of life in southern California.Didion writes: “To live with the Santa Ana is to accept, consciously or unconsciously, a deeply mechanistic view of human behavior.” A 1988 article from the Los Angeles Times offers a scientific reason: The winds “contain an excess of positive ions,” making us prone to headaches and nausea and prompting the excretion of more serotonin, which causes those edgy feels.While the actual science evaluating the effect these winds have on our psyche and collective nervous systems is shaky, many Angelenos (myself, a lapsed Angeleno, included) take it as a matter of ancient fact.While forest fires can occur in absence of winds, the large, sprawling and often concurrent fires—fires, unfortunately, beget more fire—that cause mass property damage almost always have these winds as an ingredient.The hot and dry winds themselves aren’t unique to southern California.It’s about the crazy things that happen when the Santa Ana winds are blowing in Southern California.Joan Didion quoted this passage in her essay, “The Santa Ana,” available here: And the quote: “There was a desert wind blowing that night.

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Comments Joan Didion Essay On Santa Ana Winds

  • Rhetorical Analysis AP Essay - Jacqueline's Portfolio
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    Didion’s word choice created an ominous setting for the Santa Ana winds. The words “screaming”, “eerie”, and “surreal” in paragraph two were used to convey the uneasiness the Santa Ana winds bring. it is like a fog of disorganization and chaos covers the city as the Santa Ana’s pass over.…

  • The Setting and the Story Joan Didion’s “The Santa Ana.
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    Every time I read Joan Didion’s description of the hot, dry Santa Ana winds I get homesick. I’m a native Californian, but I’ve lived for many years in a village in southeastern Ohio, and we just don’t get winds like that around here. Didion’s Los Angeles is, for many of my students, a foreign world.…

  • The Santa Ana Winds Essay Example - Free Essays, Term Papers
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    This shows how Didion feels negatively towards the Santa Ana and how it changes the air around the people change as well. In the third paragraph Didion describes the effects the Santa Ana has on humans. Didion also describes foehn winds, the equivalent of a Santa Ana in European countries.…

  • Joan Didion's Santa Ana Winds A Mechanistic View of Nature
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    The following essay analyzes how Joan Didion creates a sense of foreboding that, in turn, helps her to develop her argument about the winds' effects on human behavior. Joan Didion's Santa Ana Winds A Mechanistic View of Nature by Jane Knobler The ominous description of LosAngeles preceding the arrival of the Santa Ana…

  • AP Rhetorical Analysis Prompt - Emily's APLAC Portfolio
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    Joan Didion views the Santa Ana winds as malevolent entities, both powerfully frightening and mysteriously dangerous in her essay, "Los Angeles Notebook." The wind is believed to change the people that it touches, causing people to behave in most uncharacteristic manners.…

  • Santa Ana Winds are Meaningful to Authors Joan Didion in.
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    The Santa Ana winds obviously mean a great deal to Didion and Thomas which is why they regard it as sort of a powerful force in nature. In The Santa Ana by Joan Didion, the wind is portrayed as a force that deprives people of happiness.…

  • Joan Didion the Santa Ana Essay Example
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    Joan Didion the Santa Ana Essay Sample. In the essay “Santa Ana” by Joan Didion, the author was very descriptive with imagery, tone, objective description, and subjective description. The way she spoke to the reader about the weather in Los Angeles actually drew an illustration in my head due to the great description by the author.…

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    Joan Didion explains to the reader about how the Santa Ana affects human behavior in her essay “Los Angeles Notebook.” Through the use of imagery, diction, and selection of detail Didion expresses her view of the Santa Ana winds. Didion paints uneasy and somber images when describing the Santa Ana winds.…

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    Santa Ana Winds In the excerpt from Joan Didion’s essay “Los Angeles Notebook”, Didion conveys an unpleasant tone towards the Santa Ana winds by her use of diction, selection of detail, and facts. Didion uses negative diction to convey her view of the Santa Ana winds.…

  • Hamsin foehn - theessayexperiencefall2013.cuny.edu
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    A passage by Joan Didion about California’s Santa Ana winds from her essay “Los Angeles Notebook.” There is something uneasy in the Los Angeles air this afternoon, some unnatural stillness, some tension. What it means is that tonight a Santa Ana will begin to blow, a hot wind from the northeast whining down through the Cajon and San…

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