Feminism In Literature Essay

927 words - 4 pages

“Top Girls” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” relate to contemporary political issues and feminism. Top Girls is regarded as a unique play about the challenges working women face in the contemporary business world. Churchill once wrote; ‘Playwrights don’t give answers, they ask questions’; she is proving this in Top Girls. She brings up many tough questions over the course of the play, including what success is and if women’s progress in the workplace has been a good or a bad thing. Margaret Atwood wrote a novel named The Handmaid’s tale, this is a novel that had been written from a feminist perspective. However, given that both the novel and the play are about feminism the difference in the time they were written and published has an impact on the way these authors see feminism, they express their knowledge, thoughts and feeling towards this topic through their characters. Churchill uses many characters to involve the audience, where as Atwood prefers to use one characters emotional narrative to convey her feelings and explore ideas. Churchill and Atwood both use various literary criticisms to show their anger at a particular society or way of life.
The rise of Thatcherism in the 1980s encouraged Churchill and Atwood to share their feelings in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Top Girls.’
Brechtian Theatre or the Theatre of Alienation is the form in which this play has been written. The first scene starts with six women, these women are said to have been important women from the past and have all come to meet at a restaurant, to celebrate Marlene’s success as a businesswoman.
Churchill makes the characters come across as women who are quite masculine and not very feminine. Their masculinity is shown through the way they speak and act, for example; when Marlene speaks she seems quite bossy. ‘Excellent, yes table for six, one of them is going to be late but we won’t wait”; from that short sentence it shows Marlene likes things planned out and she also likes things to flow and come out exactly as she wants. They also have no thought to anyone’s feelings. The effect that Churchill is signifying is Marlene’s masculine characteristics because Marlene seems to be a very manly character, in the way she acts rather than the way she looks. This being because she is an independent woman. This would come as a shock towards people living through their times because women were not known to be capable of doing anything other than domestic labour. The women’s ignorance towards the way society was supposed to be run is shown throughout the play; by Churchill showing the women talking over each other, just to get their view across.
Marlene; Let the what?
Nijo; It is a literary allusion to a...

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