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“Goodbye to All that” presents an interesting time in the life of the Didion when she was going through a transition phase in her life. What has happened is that how the she was moving into the New York in the midst of the 1950 and was developing a sense of identity with the city. The relationship that she had with New York was taking an interesting turn in that time period. The interesting that thing she discusses about the life, tradition and times is that how the pace of the society is increasing. People are becoming more and more inclined towards the materialistic things has meant that there is a culture of self-centeredness developed among people in a sense that the spirit of the city that was based on helping each other and accomplishing together was replaced with the fast-paced cut throat competition where everyone was making an effort to move forward. Interestingly, the set of concerns that are discussed by Didion in the final essay, some of these things are still holding true in our society and the argument can be made that how people are still inclined towards self-centeredness and having total lack of regard for each other.
Looking at more or less all the essays, there is one recurring theme that is witnessed during the course of the narrative of the essay all the time is that how the depiction of the aimless lives of the youth is there. The idea is that how people these days do not have their heart at the right place, and they have a hard time making sure that they are able to make sense of whatever the things that are happening in their surroundings. There is another recurring theme during the premises of the essay and that is about how the poem most of the times is written in the manner that it tends to discuss the societal fragmentation in an appropriate manner. The sense of aimlessness and not having the true sense of purpose among the people these days is another major issue that one gets to see during the course of the essays. So, these are some of the themes that are discussed during the narrative of the essay. The other thing that is talked about is the self-centeredness of the people these days with regards to how they look at different issues.
The life, tradition and values are some of the things that are based on the perception of the people and how they are reacting to different situations at the given point of time. Keeping this aspect in mind, it is fair to assume that the value preposition of the people has changed. The other prevailing theme that has been discussed during the course of the essays is that how people are pre-occupied with their own things and have their own sensibilities in mind. What it has done is that it has brought about a considerable change in the way culture is supposed to shape up and how the traditions are merely reflecting upon the sensibilities of the people. What it goes to issue that how the culture and tradition are shaped up are merely the reflection of the broader cultural trends that are witnessed. And eventually how it becomes an identity of the culture or place. One critic describes the essay as "a devastating depiction of the aimless lives of the disaffected and incoherent young," with Didion positioned as "a cool observer but not a hardhearted one. Didion originally wrote the piece as an assignment for The Saturday Evening Post in 1967.
Didion, Joan. Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Macmillan, 1990.
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