Joan Didion Writing Styles in Play It as It Lays

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Point of View

Several points of view are employed by Joan Didion in this novel. The first chapter is told from Maria's first-person point of view. The second chapter is told from Helene's first-person point of view. The third chapter is told from Carter's first-person point of view. Beginning the novel with these three distinct first-person voices immediately draws the reader into the conflict, into the different thoughts of the three main characters.

These first-person narratives act as a sharp contrast to the following chapters which are told from the third-person point of view. This shift creates questions right up front about who might and who might not be a reliable narrator. The reader sees early on from Maria's point of view that she believes she is sane, yet Helene's and Carter's first-person narratives suggest otherwise.

The close third-person point of view carries the novel swiftly forward, offering a...

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This section contains 1,084 words
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Buy the Play It as It Lays Study Guide
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