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A Feminist Analysis of Cloud Nine Essay

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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
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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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