Perception of New York City in Goodbye to All by Joan Didion and American Psycho by Bret Easton

Perception of New York City in Goodbye to All by Joan Didion and American Psycho by Bret Easton

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Both “Goodbye to All That” by Joan Didion and American Psycho by Bret Easton
Ellis portray New York as a city where it is horrible to live, filled with homeless men,
filth, crime, and complete displeasure, but for some reason, nobody leaves. The
perception of New York City given by these two passages is a contradictory one. In both
passages the narrators describe the city with great disappointment and Didion also adds a
tone of annoyance to her passage, annoyed that even though she hates pretty much
everything about New York she doesn’t leave, and instead of staying for the 6 months as
she originally planned, getting anxious to finally be free from the horrible city, she stays
for 8 years. For Timothy in American Psycho, despite the many bad things he has to say
about the city, he doesn’t leave, and mentions that leaving is not an option. Ellis adds to
the negative perception by making Timothy seem numb to all the crime and violence.
Both show the idea that even though the people that come to New York have many bad
things to say, and complain about pretty much everything, they cannot leave. Both Didion
and Ellis make it clear that New York is a trap that invites you in with idealistic views
written into songs and movies but once you’re in it shows its true colors and doesn’t let
you leave. Although these texts were written a while ago, American Psycho written in
1991 and “Goodbye To All That” written in 1968, the idea that New York is a trap that will lure people in with false promises of an easy life, and once their here, miserable or
not, they won’t leave, seems to still be consistent today.
Joan Didion presents, in a passage from her essay “Goodbye To All That”, the
idea of a young girl “programmed by all the...


... middle of paper ...


...e division
between the upper-middle class, and the middle and lower class. The most expensive zip
code in the country is a few train stops away from Low Income Housing Projects. Despite
the fact that they have enough money to live in gated communities, they stay and
complain. In conclusion, it seems to be that one of the most populated cities in America is
the most hated by the people who inhabit it. One would imagine that in a place where the
way of life is clearly horrible, there wouldn’t be 8 million people living there. People
come with high expectations of city that is featured to be perfect in movies and songs, so
people come for a better more ideal life, but they have no idea why they stay. New York
is a city where no matter how much money you have, there’s so much to complain about,
but nobody leaves or even try to fix what’s wrong about the city.

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