Didion’s “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” And The Enduring American Despair.

Didion’s “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” And The Enduring American Despair.

May 15,2022

In the hackneyed introduction of the essay that names one of her most celebrated books, Joan Didion synthesized a particularly American malaise: “The center was not holding,” she wrote. “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” an essay originally written in 1967, is a first-person immersion in San Francisco’s hippy culture, a raw portrait of what Didion described as a “desperate attempt of a handful of pathetically unequipped children to create a community in a social vacuum.” Through characters like Max, Sharon or Tom, Didion portrayed a generation of nihilist, lost people sucked in a destructive spiral of drugs and despair. “These were children who grew up cut loose from the web of cousins and great-aunts and family doctors and lifelong neighbors who had traditionally suggested and enforced the society’s values,” she wrote.

You can read the article at Medium.