Joan Didion- Why I Write(Review)

The author starts out by saying that a writer wants to express oneself through their writing, that they impose themselves on others, this I feel is not entirely true and though it might be in her case she doesn’t really convey it as well through this piece. Writers aren’t bullies they’re visionaries who were bullied. Every writer who is successful would have been a bookworm at some point or the other, not to say the unsuccessful ones weren’t. In this age, usually in school or any other social gathering bookworms are the ones that might get bullied. If the writer assumes she is bullying people through her writing then she is assuming something that is not true, one has a choice if they want to believe what the author wants to say or not, thus if they want to be bullied or not. Real bullying gives no choice.

The writer has titled the piece “Why I Write”, as she likes the repeated sound of I repeated in this sentence, which conveys she knows who she is and knows what she wants to convey through her writing. But later on in her article she goes on to say that she is writing because she doesn’t know what her thoughts are and wants to explore who she is and why she thinks in such a way. This is contradicting herself. I am not sure if this is what she is trying to convey as sometimes we think we know something then we think more and question ourselves if we really know it and contradict ourselves. The author says she is writing to discover herself and the article definitely shows that as even though it’s her thoughts written openly it actually gives an insight of how she thinks and how her train of thoughts and method of questioning is, it definitely shows how she is exploring herself through her writing.

This article is apt for the question of Who am I? It reveals how a writer with a degree in literature would go about exploring herself through the various forms that she writes in. The author explores the idea of “who I am is what I write” and she does it in a way specific to her revealing more about herself little by little as she progresses in the article. I found it to be a fascinating read and it gave me an idea of how people perceive themselves in different ways.


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