Joan Didion’s On Going Home is a beautiful and moving essay about the author’s experience of returning to her childhood home. Didion writes with great insight and honesty about the complex emotions she feels towards her family, her home, and her own memories.
The essay is filled with beautiful images and thoughtful observations about the nature of home and family. Didion’s On Going Home is a must-read for anyone who has ever felt the pull of nostalgia or the longing for a place they once called home.
The most crucial step in accepting one’s future is to accept one’s past. In Joan Didion’s “On Returning Home,” the reader may observe that Didion is searching for her real “home,” and her problems might be linked to her feeling of continual estrangement from her childhood home because she relocated away and began living in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.
Didion grew up in Sacramento, but her family moved around a lot when she was young. As a result, Didion never really felt like she had a place to call home. This feeling of rootlessness continued into Didion’s adulthood and is evident in “On Going Home.” Didion begins the essay by describing her return home to Sacramento after living in New York City for six years.
She notes how everything in Sacramento seems smaller than she remembers it, including her childhood home. This could be due to the fact that Didion is now an adult and has experienced more of life outside of Sacramento, so her perspective has changed. However, it could also be because Didion no longer feels a sense of connection to her childhood home.
Throughout the essay, Didion expresses her ambivalence towards her hometown and her family. On one hand, she feels a sense of comfort and familiarity when she is home with her family. On the other hand, she also feels like an outsider looking in. This is likely because Didion has moved away from Sacramento and no longer shares the same experiences as her family members. As a result, Didion finds it difficult to relate to them.
It is clear that Didion is struggling to find a sense of belonging. She feels disconnected from her childhood home and her family. However, by the end of the essay, Didion seems to have come to terms with her past and has accepted that she will always feel a sense of displacement. In doing so, she has taken the first step in accepting her future.
Didion’s essay is relatable to many people who have experienced displacement at some point in their lives. On Going Home speaks to the idea that one can never truly go home again because things change and people change. However, by accepting this, one can move on and create a new home for themselves.
In this essay, Didion questions whether or not she has a “real” home. Her husband’s non-participation in her family contributes to this problem; as a result, she feels disconnected from her childhood home. By comparing Didion’s tone and writing style in her piece to the tone and writing style of Margaret Laurence’s “Where the World Began,” which also discusses issues surrounding one’s childhood home, it is possible to see how Didion felt alienated.
Furthermore, by analyzing On Going Home through a feminist lens, it can be interpreted that Didion is experiencing a loss of self because she is giving into the patriarchal expectations that have been forced upon her.
Although Joan Didion’s “On Going Home” and Margaret Laurence’s “Where the World Began” both address the theme of returning to or leaving one’s childhood home, the two essays differ in their overall tone and approach. Laurence’s essay reads as though she is fondly reminiscing about her childhood home and all the happy memories she has associated with it, whereas Didion’s essay has a much more negative tone; she seems almost resentful of her childhood home and her family.
Didion’s negative feelings towards her childhood home are likely the result of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, not being fully accepted into the family. In the essay, she mentions how “my father still does not quite know what to make of Mr. Dunne” (Didion, On Going Home).
It is clear that Didion is not as close to her family as Laurence is to hers; this is evident in the way Didion speaks about her father. Laurence refers to her father by his first name, Davey, whereas Didion only ever refers to her father as “my father”; this shows a lack of intimacy between Didion and her father.
Furthermore, Laurence speaks about her father with great admiration, whereas Didion speaks about her father in a more detached manner. Laurence says that her father is a “wise man” (Laurence, Where the World Began) and that he has “a sly wit” (Laurence, Where the World Began), whereas Didion simply states that her father is “a good man” (Didion, On Going Home).
Didion’s feelings of detachment from her family are also evident in the way she writes about her childhood home. Laurence describes her childhood home in great detail, painting a picture of a warm and inviting place, whereas Didion only gives brief descriptions of her childhood home.
Laurence writes that her childhood home was “a small whitewashed house set in the middle of a field” (Laurence, Where the World Began) and that it had “a wide verandah” (Laurence, Where the World Began). On the other hand, Didion simply states that her childhood home was “a white frame house on San Miguel Island” (Didion, On Going Home).
Joan Didion’s love for her childhood home changes as she grows up, from attachment and love to confusion and detachment, according to her frequent employ of sad, melancholy, and gloomy terms. Joan Didion’s sentiments are more apparent when her essay is compared to Margaret Laurence’s “Where the World Began,” which also discusses the author’s thoughts about her childhood home.
In Laurence’s essay, the author writes about how she returns to her childhood home in Manitoba and is able to find a sense of security and peace that she cannot find anywhere else. Unlike Joan Didion, Margaret Laurence has a much more positive outlook on her childhood home and her memories of growing up there. This difference in opinion may be due to the fact that Joan Didion was raised in California while Margaret Laurence was raised in Canada. The different geographical locations may have had an impact on the way the two authors viewed their childhood homes.
Joan Didion’s On Going Home is a reflection on the author’s childhood home in California and her feelings towards it as she gets older. The title of the essay, On Going Home, suggests that Joan Didion is not quite sure what her home is anymore. The word “on” implies that she is still searching for her home and she has not found it yet. T
his is evident in the way she talks about her childhood home and her memories of growing up there. She writes about how she used to love going to her grandparents’ house and how it was a place where she felt safe and loved. However, as she gets older, she starts to feel detached from her childhood home and she no longer feels the same connection to it.