Https www.vogue.com article joan-didion-self-respect-essay-1961


https www.vogue.com article joan-didion-self-respect-essay-1961

locked in some unblighted Eden, out of strange beds, ambivalent conversations, and trouble in general. Didion wrote the essay as the magazine was going to press, to fill the space left after another writer did not produce a piece on the same subject. Although the careless, suicidal Julian English. I good thesis statements for the odyssey had not been elected to Phi Beta Kappa. To protest that some fairly improbable people, some people who could not possibly respect themselves, seem to sleep easily enough is to miss the point entirely, as surely as those people miss it who think that self-respect has necessarily to do with not having safety.

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The charms that work on others count for nothing in that devastatingly well-lit back alley where one keeps assignations with oneself: no winning smiles will do here, no prettily drawn lists of good intentions. Vogue in 1961, and which was republished as On Self-Respect in the authors 1968 collection, Slouching Towards Bethlehem. We flatter ourselves by thinking this compulsion to please others an attractive trait: a gift for imaginative empathy, evidence of our willingness to give. That kind of self-respect is a discipline, a habit of mind that can never be faked but can be developed, trained, coaxed forth. Like Jordan Baker, people with self-respect have the courage of their mistakes. Although to be driven back upon oneself is an uneasy affair at best, rather like trying to cross a border with borrowed credentials, it seems to me now the one condition necessary to the beginnings of real self-respect. Theres the glass you broke in anger, there's the hurt on X's face; watch now, this next scene, the night Y came back from Houston, see how you muff this one. The Great Gatsby seem equally improbable candidates for self-respect, Jordan Baker had it, Julian English did not. There is a similar case for all the small disciplines, unimportant in themselves; imagine maintaining any kind of swoon, commiserative or carnal, in a cold shower.



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