Feminist Analysis of Cloud Nine
In 1979, Caryl Churchill wrote a feminist play entitled Cloud Nine. It was the result of a workshop for the Joint Stock Theatre Group and was intended to be about sexual politics. Within the writing she included a myriad of different themes ranging from homosexuality and homophobia to female objectification and oppression. "Churchill clearly intended to raise questions of gender, sexual orientation, and race as ideological issues; she accomplished this largely by cross-dressing and role-doubling the actors, thereby alienating them from the characters they play." (Worthen, 807) The play takes part in two acts; in the first we see Clive, his family, friends, and servants in a Victorian British Colony in …show more content…
The men don't tell us what is going on among the tribes, so how can we possibly make a judgment?" (Churchill, 818) Several lines later she continues saying, "You would not want to be told about it, Betty. It is enough for you that Clive knows what is happening. Clive will know what to do. Your father always knew what to do" (818). Maud is conscious of her class and her standing within it. She therefore strongly adheres to the institutions that come along with it. Class bias determines attitude of people to social relations and culture (Bryant-Bertail, 2). The character of Betty was brought up in a Victorian era where proper upper class women were objects intended to please their respective men; their function was to be pleasing and reproductive, not to think. In the second act of the play Betty shows how her attitude toward women has been skewed by her Victorian upbringing in a conversation she has with Lin:
Lin: Have you any women friends?
Betty: I've never been so short of men's company that I've had to bother with women.
Lin: Don't you like women?
Betty: They don't have such interesting conversations as men. There has never been a woman composer of genius. They don't have a sense of humor. They spoil things for themselves with their emotions. I can't say I do like women very much, no.
Lin: But you're a woman.
Betty: There's nothing says you have to like yourself. (Churchill, 828)
It becomes pretty obvious that Betty's class biases have limited
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In all aspects of life, Humans spend an incredible amount of time wondering if their class is high enough and acceptable. We tend to care so much about what others think of us, that we expect so much more from ourselves than what is possible. Which, in short represents that we are not living for ourselves. The lives we were given to enjoy as a whole and embrace. Rather we are living someone else’s life, which locks us in a dark prison of expectations and the key to freedom gets thrown away. Living a life where you care so much about what others think of you is as if we are nothing but sheep being herded to the final slaughterhouse! In “Rocking Horse Winner”, the author D.H. Lawrence paints a portrait of how the mother Hester can never truly be satisfied with what she poseses since she is always worried about the status and ranking of her class. The most important concern to her is looking respectable, presentable, and nice. In addition, in the story “A Goodman Is Hard To Find”, the author Flannery O’Connor paints the same portrait representing how the Grandmother always has to look presentable, and how she always has to look like a lady. Both of these characters in both stories have the same problem in common. They both are haunted by the fact that they
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In the play, A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, the representation of male and female characters are based on gender stereotypes, which represent a patriarchal society. The way in which Tennessee Williams portrays the main characters: Blanche, Stanley and Stella, by using gender stereotypes demonstrates the patriarchal society`s value, norms and beliefs of the 1940s.
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With reference to the ways Russell presents the theme of social class in the extract and elsewhere in the novel in act one, show how far you agree that there is no escape from the effects of social class for the characters in the play.
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Gender identity and its roles in 17th and 19th century England were regarded as rigid fact — definite and unyielding. The adherence to these social protocols was of utmost importance. Masculinity was viewed as being dominant, assertive, and bold, whereas femininity involved beauty, obedience, and chastity. The theatre became a method of challenging this rigid social concept. Both William Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest explore these public values through their characters. Wilde and Shakespeare’s use of gender reversals satirize the traditions of social order, marriage, and gender responsibilities at the time, thereby revealing that gender is not absolute.