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California: Myths & Betrayal Essay

1568 words - 7 pages

I was born In Sacramento, California and I have lived here my whole life. This is all I know and I really have nothing to compare it to. When I meet people that are not from California and they find out that I am, they immediately ask me certain questions. The questions are based on stereotypes or myths about California and the people that live here. From an outsider’s perspective, California is thought to be a warm and sunny place all year round. California is seen as a home to celebrities and movie stars. People think all Californians are blonde haired and blue-eyed people that surf and live near beaches. California is also seen as a place where people have a lot of money, live in ...view middle of the document...

In my opinion California only has two seasons, summer and winter. I sense that when others move to California with a certain idea in their mind they feel betrayed after they live through their first California winter.I trust that Joan Didion agrees that California is not exactly the place it is made out to be. In her essay “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream”, she talks about The San Bernardino Valley. She portrays this place as if it were comparable to hell. “Not the harsher California, haunted by the Mojave just beyond the mountains, devastated by the hot dry Santa Ana wind that comes down through the passes at 100 miles an hour and whines through the eucalyptus windbreaks and works on the nerves”. (Dreamers 3) I feel that in what she wrote here she is saying that California is thought to have beautiful weather, but in can be horrible as well. At times California’s heat becomes unbearable. It becomes so hot you feel like it is hard for you to breathe. You’d think that with the wind blowing it would help to cool it down, but when it is that hot it only makes it feel that much hotter and more unbearable. Like many things in California, the weather tends to be one extreme or the other. California at times can get very cold; Mark Twain was supposedly quoted as saying “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”. The weather is only one myth that Didion discusses in her writings.In Didion’s book Where I Was From, she tells the story of the history of her family. She tells us how her family struggled to migrate west back in 1846. When Didion talks about the women in her family she is proud. They were extremely hard workers, who worked with what little they had. “These women in my family would seem to have been pragmatic and in their deepest instincts clinically radical, given to breaking clean with everyone and everything they knew. They could shoot and they could handle stock and when their children outgrew their shoes they could learn from the Indians how to make moccasins”(WIWF 7). I believe that by Didion telling the story about her female relatives she is trying to disprove a myth. Most people believe that the men are the ones who made all the accomplishments throughout history, but realistically women did a vast amount of it. Many women were stronger in spirit than the men. The women were the pillars who supported the entire family. The women were the ones who were expected to take care of the families. They cooked; fed the family, set up camp every place they stayed, did all the cleaning & kept the families on track throughout their trip. The women had to stay strong; they could not show emotion or allow hardships to slow them down. If there was a death along the way, they were not allowed the luxury of having time to grieve, they had to bury the body & keep moving forward. “They tended to avoid dwelling on just what that end might imply”(WIWF 7). They...

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