Santa Ana Winds are Meaningful to Authors Joan Didion in the Santa Ana and Linda Thomas in In Brush Fire

792 Words2 Pages

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. This concept is highlighted when she states that “ to live with the Santa Anna is to accept . . . a deeply mechanistic view of human behavior.” In Brush Fire by Linda Thomas, it is portrayed more like a normal power of nature. Her concept is highlighted when she brings up the fact that the chaparral plant burns due to the winds but then it returns in the spring which symbolizes regrowth. Throughout their essays, both authors use diction as well as syntax to persuade their perspective audiences.

First, the authors easily establish Ethos since they both have lived in California at some point. That is definitely how they developed their differing viewpoints on the Santa Ana winds. Didion believes that the winds alter human society to some degree by causing unhappiness. She goes on to cite various comparisons to France, Israel, Switzerland and the Mediterranean, which also adds to her Logos. Her reason behind why the winds make people unhappy is that they cause several problems such as headaches and allergies; in Los Angeles some teachers call off classes with the fear of children’s behavior (clearly a hyperbole). In Switzerland, suicide rates increase and blood clot does not occur. Furthermore, her purpose becomes clear when she states “the air carries an unusually high ratio of positive ions [which] . . . make people unhappy.” On the contrary, Thomas believes that the winds are in essence part of a natural cycle since they aid some plants like the chaparral since it “need[s] the heat of a flame t...

... middle of paper ...

...roblems Los Angeles residents are facing just because of these winds whereas Thomas’s purpose is to try to create a relatively good opinion of the winds amongst her audience which is somewhat opposite of Didion’s purpose. Thus, all these developments of their messages can only be derived through the syntax.

In conclusion, Didion and Thomas use diction as well as syntax to persuade their perspective audiences in their respective pieces. Didion seems to hold a dark perspective of the winds whereas Thomas views it as part of a natural cycle. Both of them deploy similar rhetorical strategies for the most part to get their point out to the audience, which obviously does not consist of Southern California. Most likely they are trying to create an impact on Easterners and Europeans so that they are aware of the different conditions prevalent in this part of the world.

Open Document