The Role Of Nihilism In Joan Didion's Play It As It Lays

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In “Play it as it Lays” by Joan Didion written in 1970 focuses on the story of Maria Wyeth. Maria was once a successful up and coming model/actress nonetheless after the deaths of her parents she withdrew from acting. She is married to Carter a man who is extremely uncaring and living in Hollywood. She has a four-year-old daughter Kate, who she seems to adore Nevertheless Kate is in an institution for unknown reasons. Maria displays self- destructive tendencies as she spends her days having sex and getting high and drunk. When she ends up pregnant, she contemplates telling the potential father Les Goodwin, then decides not to when she realizes “when she was not actually talking to him now she found it hard to keep him distinct from everyone…show more content…
The only things that seem to bring her any pleasure is her interactions with her daughter Kate and her aimless driving along long stretches of freeway. This driving can be seen as a symptom of her nihilistic view of life as they represent the pointlessness that she views as her life. Maria’s life in her perspective has ceased to have any point or meaning, except for her daughter. The problem with that Kate being Maria’s sole focus and reason for existing is that Kate is more of a concept then a reality. Kate is in an institution for some unknown reason, and throughout the book there is no indication that Kate is going to ever be released. This means that Maria’s fantasies about her and Kate being together are most likely never going to come to pass. The drives are not all together pointless as they give her something concrete to cling to and control, even as she believes that her life is slipping out of her control. The reason for this is that Maria tends to rather submissive in her relationships and interactions with people, on the other hand driving is something that allows her a kind of connection with her own life and things around her for the reason that when she is driving she is focused on something other than her
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