Marrying Absurd

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Joan Didion’s essay “Marrying Absurd” is a comical review of Las Vegas and its wedding business. It gives the reader a more in depth look at the things they always expected were happening in Nevada but were never concerned enough about to do the research.

While I already knew most of the information in the essay, Didion presented it in such an entertaining, sarcastic manner that I was never bored. Without coming right out and saying just what she thought of the industry she told us exactly how she felt about the Las Vegas “spur of the moment” way of life by choosing her words very carefully. “All of these services, like most others in Las Vegas…are offered twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, presumably on the premise that marriage, like craps, is a game to be played when the table seems hot” (Didion 91). She seems to hold the opinion that marriage is more sacred and should not be entered into so lightly, and therefore disagrees with the Strip chapels and their practices.

Her essay tries to show the reader just how ridiculous the idea is in order to steer them away from rushing into such important decisions. Didion shares stories about her observations of wedding parties to demonstrate this point. “one night about eleven o’clock in Las Vegas I watched a bride in an orange mini-dress and masses of flame-colored hair stumble from a Strip chapel on the arm of her bridegroom, who looked the part of the expendable nephew in movies like Miami Syndicate. ‘I gotta get the kids,” the bride whimpered. ‘I gotta pick up the sitter; I gotta get to the midnight show.’ ‘What you gotta get,’ the bridegroom said, opening the door of a Cadillac Coupe de Ville and watching her crumple on the seat, ‘is sober’” (91).

However, she does attempt to explain the appeal of the Strip chapels to those of us who already find them silly. It’s as if she is forgiving those who fell into the trap that Las Vegas had set for them. “but Las Vegas seems to offer something...
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