Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 273
Read some of the first-hand accounts of the American withdrawal from Saigon and identify details which Didion has used in her novel. Didion's novel was originally going to be "a study in provincial manners" centered on one particular family in Honolulu. Investigate the business and social history of Honolulu during the 1940s and 1950s.
Didion's essay collection The White Album contains a piece about Honolulu—"In The Islands"—in which she writes at length about Schofield barracks and From Here To Eternity by James Jones. Reading extracts from Jones's novel and watching the 1953 Columbia movie version of the book, identify parallels and contrasts in Didion and Jones's portrayals of life in Honolulu.
The opening sentence of the novel refers to the testing of nuclear devices in the Pacific. Research the history of nuclear testing, and on a map of the Pacific area mark and date all places used for such tests.
Inez Victor is a study of the effect that being in the public eye has on a character. Researching the lives of Jacqueline Kennedy, Diana Princess of Wales, and other women subjected to public scrutiny through association with their husbands, attempt to analyze what Didion means when she suggests that the "major cost" of public life is "loss of memory."
Carry out a statistical analysis of Didion's one-line or very short paragraphs (do not include dialogue). You will need to set your own parameters for this study—will you look at paragraphs of ten words or less? Eight words or less? Carry out a sentence analysis on each paragraph in your sample and attempt to show the results graphically, using computer software.
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