The Year of Magical Thinking - Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

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Didion discusses how grief has never been treated as a mental illness, but instead as something that can be "gotten over". During the time after his death, she was ignoring the facts in the hope that an alternative reality, such as John not being dead, will prove true.

The author continues to explore this "magical thinking" by analyzing her thinking around the autopsy. She'd believed that the autopsy would find something simple that had gone wrong, something that would be easily fixed—in other words, the autopsy would fix the problem and John would come home.

As it specifically examines a particular aspect of the author's thought process, this chapter manifests her attempts to treat her mental and emotional circumstances with a kind of clinical detachment that resurfaces repeatedly throughout the book. On one level there is a certain jarring-ness to this juxtaposition, in...

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This section contains 206 words
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