Characters

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 425

As you are asking about characters, I will assume that you refer to Joan Didion's short story "The White Album," which gave its name to the larger collection of stories published in 1976 (which, as a collection, includes many diverse characters). This individual story's characters will primarily be discussed here, as they are several and notable.

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"The White Album" is a literary essay with a cast of characters who appear in Didion's autobiographical experience in California during the 1960s. The first main character described is Didion herself. She describes herself by means of a psychiatric report (in the first section of the essay; she has a "fundamentally pessimistic, fatalistic, or depressive view of the world around her" (14). This worldview will inform the tone of the rest of her essay.

Didion encounters individuals who will exacerbate that fatalistic outlook, such as Linda Kasabian, who was a member of Charles Manson's "family". She served as a witness in the murder of Roman Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate, among other victims of Manson's family in southern California. Didion also quotes a transcript from an interview with Tommy and Paul Ferguson, who murdered actor Ramon Novarro in 1968.

The members of an iconic '60s band are also remembered in Didion's essay. She recalls "watching a band called the Doors record a rhythm track" (21). Didion regards the Doors as champions of the idea of "apocalyptic" and transformative sex.

Early Black Panther leaders also figure prominently in Didion's essay. Didion describes meeting Huey Newton at the Alameda County jail when he was twenty-five, and later, Eldridge Cleaver in his San Francisco apartment. Both were leaders of the Black...

(The entire section contains 425 words.)

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