Feminism in "Top Girls" and "The Handmaid's Tale" Essay

Feminism in "Top Girls" and "The Handmaid's Tale" Essay

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Both Top Girls and The Handmaid’s Tale relate to contemporary political issues and feminism. Top Girls was written by Caryl Churchill, a political feminist playwright, as a response to Thatcher’s election as a first female British Prime Minister. Churchill was a British social feminist in opposition to Thatcherism. Top Girls was regarded as a unique play about the challenges working women face in the contemporary business world and society at large. Churchill once wrote: ‘Playwrights don’t give answers, they ask questions’, [6] and I think she is proving it 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 bad thing.

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian feminist writer, who wrote The Handmaid’s Tale in times of the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment, the rise of the religious rights, the election of Ronald Reagan and during the anti-feminist backlash in America of the 1980s. [9] The Handmaid’s Tale is a feminist dystopian novel, in which Atwood addresses the suppression of women in patriarchal culture. Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale to illustrate what might happen in the future if anti-feminism goes to the extreme with claims such as 'it is every man’s right to rule supreme at home' and 'a woman’s place is in the home'. [7] She sets the story in a pseudo-religious totalitarian society. The narrator of the story, Offred is describing in her diary the life of women in the society in the theocratic Republic of Gilead of the future.

Top Girls is classified as Theatre of Alienation. Through the unconventional structure of the Brechtian Theatre, Churchill does not want the audience to simply follow the story as if it was...


... middle of paper ...


...he Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood is bringing the feminism issues as well as political issues together, to show the dangers of extremist thinking.


Words: 1, 488

Bibliography:
[1] Atwood, M, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, Vintage, 1986
[2] Churchill, C, ‘Top Girls’, Methuen Drama, 1991
[3] Cooke, N, ‘Margaret Atwood: A Critical Companion’, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004
[4] Hill Rigney, B, ‘Margaret Atwood’, Macmillan Press, 1987
[5] Roberts, P, ‘About Churchill’, Faber, 2008
[6] Tycer, A, ‘Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls’, Continuum, 2008
[7] http://www.bookrags.com/notes/hmt/ accessed on 10 March 2009
[8] http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/handmaid/characters.html accessed on 10 March 2009
[9] http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/gmbaxter/ATWOOD.HTM accessed on 10 March 2009 [10] http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/science_fiction/handmaid.html accessed on 10 March 2009




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