Joan Didion Writing Styles in Blue Nights

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Structure

Blue Nights is divided into thirty-five chapters of unequal length. None of the chapters are considerably long, but many are quite short and span only one or two pages. There is no prologue, introduction, author's note, or epilogue. However, chapter one is printed entirely in italics. As such, it suggests a prologue without separating itself from the rest of the manuscript. In this way, Didion achieves a cohesiveness in the narrative with all sections of the book garnering the same level of importance. However, by placing the first chapter in italics, Didion gives herself the literary freedom one gets in a prologue to contextualize the narrative in a broader and less narrative sense. The short chapters throughout the book reflect how memories and experiences can often appear in flashes as vignettes.

The book's varying chapter lengths speak to its thematic rather than chronological structure. Didion plays with...

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This section contains 818 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Blue Nights Study Guide
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