In the middle of the 1960s, a handful of American journalists, in a movement later called the New Journalism, devised new literary schemes for getting at the truth of historical events. Briefly, they immersed themselves in the events they were reporting, hoping that reporting on their own experiences of the events might serve as more revealing portal into the matters they were examining.
In Salvador Joan Didion travels in 1981 to the civil war in El Salvador. She finds herself appalled not just by the violence and chaos of the war, but also by her own inability to ascertain even the simplest of facts about the situation. At one point, around 50 pages into her work, she begins to report on the futility of her reporting. On two occasions she describes the place with the adjective “ineffable,” meaning “incapable of be expressed,” “indescribable,” and “unutterable.”
Write a two-page essay in which you explain the difficulties Didion encounters in trying to understand the facts of this chaotic situation. You may devise your own thesis or use the following thesis or even aversion of the following thesis.
In attempting to understand what can be known about the civil war in El Salvador in the early 1980s, Joan Didion finds herself appalled not just by the horrific violence, but also by the utter confusion surrounding the usual sources of understand and facts of the situation. On investigating those who ought to know the “truth of the situation,” she…