Essay on The Journey to Self Discovery

Essay on The Journey to Self Discovery

Length: 1025 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

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The Journey to Self Discovery
Death and life are contrasting points of view while discovery seems to be the main point in Joan Didion’s essay “On Going Home and, N. Scott Momaday’s essay The Way to Rainy Mountain. For Joan Didion, returning home is a source of comfort, confusion, and conflict. The life she lives with her husband and child are a world apart from the life she grew up in. Her memories are a part of who she is and the kind of mother and wife she hopes to be. Perhaps in her quest, she will find the best parts of her to pour into her new life. In contrast, N. Scott Momaday’s “home” is his grandmother. She encompasses all that he came to know and love. The Kiowa traditions were brought to life in her home through her beadwork, cooking, storytelling, and prayers. Her death is a turning point in his life which sends him on an adventure to discover his Kiowa roots.
Joan Didion’s goal in going home was to share her daughter’s first birthday with her family and hopefully give her a sense of home. At least a sense for the “normal, happy” home she grew up in. Didion’s family hasn’t changed in all the years she’s been gone. The dust hasn’t moved, the conversation hasn’t changed, and their reaction to her husband hasn’t changed. Her brother calls him “Joan’s Husband” and she refers to her marriage as the “classic betrayal.” By bringing an outsider into the family she risks the relationships and family dynamic she has with her mother, father, and brother. She has brought an outsider into the family environment. He is hardly noticed when she brings him over. He writes DUST (1419) in the dust on surfaces in the house which goes unnoticed. Joan Didion faces her childhood memories head on while she empties a drawe...


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... the desire to find out who he is. A Kiowan by birth connected to his ancestors through his grandmother and her love of her people. By the end of Joan Didion’s quest to face the past, she realizes she doesn’t have to create the same life that she had for her daughter. Didion holds on to the things that bring her joy, such as her grandmother’s tea cups, and gets rid of the things she can’t control. She realizes that she can create memories for her daughter through giving her the love and time she needs. She wants to allow her daughter to experience being a kid without having to please anyone. “...would like to pledge her picnic on a river with fried chicken and her hair uncombed, would like to give her home for her birthday.” Because she can’t offer those things to her because of how they live, she gives her a xylophone and promises to tell her a funny story.

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