Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream: ImageryIn “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream,” the author Didion uses fieryimagery to parallel the San Bernardino Valley to hell.
It is a place where the”hills blaze up spontaneously,” and “every voice seems a scream.” (p.3) Didionshellish descriptions of the geography reflect the culture of San BernardinoValley. It is “where the hot wind blows and the old ways do not seem relevant,where the divorce rate is double the national average.” (p.4) In this culture,the importance of the “old ways,” such as a long-lasting marriage, aredevalued. It is a society where the “dream is teaching the dreamers how tolive,” (p.17) and where reality doesnt hamper peoples obsessions and greediness.
In the essay “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream,” the San Bernardino Valleysself-indulgent culture devaluates societys morals and ethics such as religion,law, love, and life.In the San Bernardino Valley, tele-evangelism, Christian gospel spreadthrough television, is prominent. It is “the California where it is easy toDial-A-Devotion, but hard to buy a book.” (p.
4) It is a society where anyonewith money can buy a devotion to God with the dialing of a number. The usage ofreligion as a money-making business defiles the sanctity of societys most sacredand cherished belief. However, money is made so morals and ethics are ignored.
Another example of this immorality is Edward Foley, Lucilles Millers attorney.He says, “We dont want to give away what we can sell,” (p.27) referring toinformation about Lucille Miller and the death of her husband. Edward Foley, aman only looking to benefit himself, shows no respect or regard for the LucilleMiller tragedy. Two people are killed and one person is sent to an institutionfor life; yet, Edward Foley tries to utilize this opportunity to make money forhimself.Another example of a depreciation of societys principles is the scene forLucille Millers murder case trial.
“College girls camped at the courthouse allnight, with stores of graham crackers and No-Cal.” Also, “identification diskswere issued to the first forty-three spectators in line.” (p.
20) The trial isdescribed not as a practice of law but as a sporting event. Just as there arehot dog vendors at a sports game, there are “stores of graham crackers and No-Cal” at the trial. Also, Didions use of the word “spectators” suggests that thepeople inside the courtroom are looking upon the trial like a sports game.Didion later refers to the courtroom seats as the “spectators section.” (p.25) Asporting event is not taken seriously. Therefore, Didions comparison of thetrial to a sports game undermines the seriousness of law and order in the SanBernardino society.
She implies that a self-seeking and avaricious cultureresults in chaos.Lucille Miller is a prime example of an individual affected by thenarcissistic culture..
Lucille, “a woman motivated by love and greed” (p.22)does whatever is necessary to get what she wants. First, she has an affair withArthwell Hayton, “a man who might have seemed to have the gift for people andmoney and the good life that Lucilles husband Cork Miller so noticeablylacked.”(p.
15) Second, she is convicted for murdering her husband which shepresumably did to collect $80,000 in insurance money. Lucille Miller commitsvices such as adultery or murder for her own self-gratification. She has noconcern about the welfare of other people.
Her uncharitable acts are the causeof chaos in society.The people of the San Bernardino Valley are in love with material things.Their definition of “love” is the yearning for things not in their possession.
The people place a “magical faith in the efficacy of the word” (p.19) for itgoverns how they act. For example, Lucille Miller says, “Ive always kind ofjust lived my life the way I wanted to.
” Her life is governed by her “love” forsex and money. However, the self-indulgent culture is not without consequence.Every year it brings a “season of suicide and divorce.” Everywhere there is”talk of unhappiness,” (p.15) and trash cans “stuffed with the debris of familylife.
” (p.27) There is no order due to the lack of morality. Yet, life in thevalley blindly goes on for an “illusion veil” (p.28) hides their eyes fromreality.English