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By Joan Didion

Joan Didion's electrifying first novel is a haunting portrait of a wedding whose fallacious turns and betrayals are instantaneously totally idiosyncratic and a razor-sharp remark at the historical past of California. Everett McClellan and his spouse, Lily, are the great-grandchildren of pioneers, and what occurs to them is a sad epilogue to the pioneer event, a narrative of homicide and betrayal that purely Didion might inform with such nuance, sympathy, and suspense.

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How accurate is Ike’s conception of, for example, the relationship between the influx of carpetbaggers and the rise of the clan? 8. ” Discuss the woods as a second Eden, the legacy of slavery as a form of original sin, or the bear itself as a religious symbol. 9. Read Faulkner’s Nobel Prize speech alongside the passages of “The Bear” from which he drew the speech’s material. What does comparing the two reveal about Faulkner’s process of editing or of reinventing his own work? What choices did he make in transforming the passage into a speech?

The thought is so shocking to her she hears a roaring sound in her head. Just as the women in the Bluebeard story are victims of their curiosity, Sally finds her whole world changed when she actually gets some insight into her husband. “Spring Song of the Frogs” focuses on Will, who is divorced. Will seems bewildered and disappointed by the world of women. A date disappoints for her predictability; a niece is in the hospital for an eating disorder. An old girlfriend comes to visit him in his country home and they sit outside to listen to the frogs, but the thrill of it falls flat, as he realizes there “aren’t as many frogs as there used to be,” evoking, perhaps, the narrowing of his options as he grows older.

She understands that her mother “had as much fun as possible,” yet this concept of fun was far different than it is now. The messages of the stories, as well as where and when they are told, also reveal older attitudes about differences between genders, since some stories are only told among women, in the kitchen, to spare men from the details. The progression of stories ends with a depiction of the narrator as becoming quieter, more withdrawn, settled into her “gloom,” while her mother keeps busy around her; there are few stories to tell of this time.

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