Analysis Of Joan Didion's Play It As It Lays

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Life is riddled with obstacles and difficulties. It gets extremely tough at times and unbearable at others. Furthermore, humans are not perfect creatures and their already tough existence is even more complicated by the mistakes that one makes. An individual might be convinced that nothing is important and life is devout of any meaning. People with that mindset are one step away from a suicide. Maria, a heroine of Joan Didion’s novel Play It As It Lays, is one such character. She thinks that nothing has any significance and the life is meaningless (Didion 4). All the same, there is always a way out. Poor decisions can be corrected. Maria does not seem to realize that she has control over her life and she acts as if she was just another cog …show more content…
Helene was never her real friend and Carter thinks of Maria more of a liability than an ex-wife could be a friend. Maria’s relationships are toxic. One of the reasons she became close to BZ was their shared disdain for life and depression. It is extremely tough to break relationships and completely change the social circle. However, it is possible and advisable. “If Freddy Chaikin thought she carried trouble with her he would avoid her because trouble was something no one in the city like to be near. Failure, illness, fear, they were seen as infectious, contagious blights on glossy plants,” - writes Didion in Chapter 3 (Didion 22). And one could interpret that message as a disdain for people who avoid trouble and unhappy and unlucky individuals. However, there is a solid argument behind avoiding people who are unlucky, unhappy, and who are pessimists or who are indifferent like Maria. Robert Green, the author of 48 Laws of Power, argues: “The incurably unhappy and unstable have a particularly strong, infecting power because their characters and emotions are so intense. They often present themselves as victims, making it difficult, at first, to see their miseries as self-inflicted. Before you realize the real nature of their problems you have been infected by them” (Green 79). Maria can definitely be described as someone whose misery is mostly self-inflicted. …show more content…
When BZ commits a suicide, Maria tells BZ “Just go to sleep” and does nothing even after realizing that BZ took pills. According to Simard, “this is the behavior of an anesthetized sensibility; it is the apathy of the narcissistic personality” (Simard). Maria never opens up to others and does not offer them anything. In turn, she receives nothing which further contributes to her emptiness as a person. Furthermore, Maria’s narcissism contributes to her career downfall as well. It turns out that narcissistic individuals produce superficial work and it reveals their lack of depth and emptiness these individuals experience (Simard). Moreover, Maria often disassociates herself from her actions and looks at her life in third-person. One example would be when she told Carter about her pregnancy and “and she wondered with distant interest just how long the scene would play” (Didion 50). Besides, Simard argues that Maria’s perspective on her relationship with Kate is unhealthy as well. He says that “Kate is a concept to Maria, a self-object, someone Maria needs to complete herself – even though her affection for her daughter is undoubtedly authentic, if misguided” (Simard). One can see how Maria’s narcissistic personality creeps into every facet of her life, starting from her career to BZ’s suicide to her relationship with her daughter. She is most likely in the right place to cure herself of

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