Performativity of the Roles of Wife and Mother in Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis analyzes Joan Didion’s memoirs The Year of Magical Thinking (2005) and Blue Nights (2011) in order to gain insight into her changing relationship with her roles of wife and mother and answer the question: How does Joan Didion perform the roles of wife and mother in The Year of Magical Thinking and in Blue Nights and what does a comparison between these books tell us about her changing relationship with these roles? A comparative close reading shows that in The Year of Magical Thinking Didion remains within the normative enactments of her gender roles while she moves into less normative performances of wife and mother in Blue Nights. A shift in focus on Didion’s husband and daughter in The Year of Magical Thinking to herself and her experience of mothering in Blue Nights signifies a shift from relating to herself and her life through her identities as wife and mother to coming to relate to herself and her life through her own experiences. This also signifies a shift from a patriarchal narrative to a matrifocal narrative.