Name of the Writer Name of the Instructor English Essay Date Submitted Critical Thinking and Analysis Introduction Images of light and darkness seldom change in the minds of people as they recall the time they spent in their home cities or favorite cities…
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It is nevertheless interesting to compare the lights and darkness of the changing landscape of a city like Los Angeles, as we draw upon historical accounts of the city in the late 1970s by Joan Didion recalling the fire of 1978 in ‘Fire Season’ and Truman Capote reminiscing about Christmas in Los Angeles in the early 1950s in ‘Local Color’. Both authors have a particular recollection of the city and though weather patterns repeat themselves, the effect is never quite the same across different decades. Discussion My judgment of the light and darkness of Los Angeles can be summed up in the vagaries of weather that the city has to face during a typical year. From hurricane alerts to wildfires raging through various parts of the city, there is never a dull moment in Los Angeles. There is always something happening at the beaches that dot the coastline of the city, and tourists as well as the local people make a beeline for it come summer. The winters too are cool and not too wet, but the pleasant breeze that blows down the coast of the shoreline and into one’s living rooms in the evenings can send chills down some spines. It is chilling yet cool to be here. Be in the blinding sunlight of summer or the hazy shade of winter, there is some danger of forest fires and other natural calamities making life difficult for the residents. Joan Didion in her piece Fire Season recalls the blaze of 1978 that resulted from the Malibu and Kanan fires and wiped out parts of Malibu and the Palisades. Some areas of Los Angeles have been burned as many as eight times. The local brush takes as long as 20 years to replenish itself. Thus we are looking at a major ecological disaster that reoccurs. With the weather patterns being consistent enough to distinguish between summer, winter and the rainy season, firefighters and the Mayor’s Office are usually on high alert during both summer and winter season when there is a good chance of fires flaring up somewhere or the other. This may be exacerbated if the conditions have been dry and unrelenting in the earlier part of the year. The conditions are so well known that even little children will describe the autumn season as “dry winds and dust; hair full of knots” (Didion, 509). Yet there is something peculiar about the resilience of inhabitants to stay put in Los Angeles County despite the recurring fires. It is as if they are in a state of denial, or love the land too much to leave it. Los Angeles even has a Fire Index. Moving on to Truman Capote’s recollection of spending Christmas in Los Angeles during the 1950s, where he had to play chaperone to a Negro girl who was coming to Hollywood in search of a job in the movie industry. Describing the usual indiscretions here, it was noted that people regarded the absence of Youth as death. No one walks, there is usually a long line of cars lining the streets as the only mode of transportation. There is no time or inclination to have kids since everyone is so busy with their movie careers- it is termed the childless city (Capote, 354). A typical Hollywood home is so incomplete without some paintings of the Masters and everybody is supposed to have some knowledge about Art. There is much emphasis on makeup and keeping up appearances, getting a toned, chiseled body and using botox to appear eternally young. Makeup and perfume is liberally applied and you are supposed to learn how to manage through divorces and remarriages. Older people can relax and really appreciate the serenity of the place. Conclusion
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