Walt Whitman’s extensive poem, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” is Whitman’s emphasis on how great New York is to him, how the New York connects all the people that experience it. Whitman’s poem appreciates all that the city offers and continues to offer. Looking back on Whitman’s life, we see that he was born in New York, so having grown up in New York it is obvious that the city will always stay a constant beauty to him. Joan Didion’s personal essay, “Goodbye To All That,” on the other hand, emphasizes that New York is a place perfect for youth to be but not to live. Living in the city, the city, is “to reduce the miraculous to the mundane.” (Didion 890) In her essay, Didion writes about the progression and the crash of her time in New York. Didion, unlike Whitman, was born outside of New York in Sacramento, California. She came to the city in order to experience life; she planned to be there for only six months but ended up staying eight years.
Now moving on to discuss the contents of the writers’ works. Though both Whitman and Didion agree that New York is magical, enchanting all that go there with ...
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...owever, many of the writers we have read from in this class acknowledge the city’s wonder as well, not too many of them ending on a happy note. Like Didion, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a personal essay, “My Lost City,” that started with youthful ambition and ended with grown distaste. Many works recognize New York’s glamour, like Whitman, but like Didion, also recognize the bad aspects of being in New York. To Whitman the city is a big, beautiful wonderland that brings people close together; to Didion the city is a place meant for the very young to experience their mistakes and to grow and once they have grown they’re ready to leave the city. New York City is experienced in all different ways by all different people, some hate it, some love it, some grow to hate or love it, but New York is never the same for all the different types of people that come and experience it.
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