Caryl Churchill - Top Girls Character Context

Top Girls basic character analysis.

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O'desiree Hopkins 12 DDS
`Top Girls' Characters Present the Social Context of the Time
Marlene ­ She has had to give up her child to her sister in order to become the new
managing director of 'Top Girls' employment agency. Marlene is a tough career woman and
is portrayed as soulless by exploiting other women and rids herself of caring instincts in
order to gain this success.
At the time of this play (1982) there was a female equality movement taking place. Women
were unable to easily obtain the pill, thus causing many unwanted pregnancies. In order to
gain, and keep a good job, children needed to be out of the picture. Also The UK was
governed by the Conservative's under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the first female
leader of a western country. As the working market was mainly male, women needed to
take on masculine qualities. This is shown through Marlene's character
Joyce ­ Has taken on her sister's (Marlene's) child (Angie) in order for her sister to be
successful, she possibly lost the child she was carrying from the stress. She lives in a council
house and survives on benefits, unable to work because she had to look after Angie.
At the time, many people were living in this situation. The law had not yet been passed for
fathers to pay child support, this came later on in the 80's. She, like most women at the
time, was a stay at home mum.
Angie ­ Marlene's biological daughter. Joyce's `adopted daughter'. She is immature for her
age (16), and hangs around with Kit ­ 12. She is neither smart nor talented.
There is a possibility that she could have an undiagnosed disorder. (?) She is also not from a
`stable' nuclear family/household. This was not encouraged at the time as they believed that
being in any other type of home would cause both financial and social problems, mainly for
the child.
Win ­ A semi-typical woman of the time. She works, but spends her time gossiping and
telling people her story, as well as listening to others.
Nell ­ Nell is a strong headed woman, when she hears that Howard has had a heart attack
she responds "Lucky he didn't get the job if that's what his healths like".
Mrs. Kidd ­ Howard's wife, she believes that Howard should have marline's job because he
is a man and it is a `mans job'.
She shares the view that most traditional men and women had.
Louise ­ After working for years at the same firm she is deciding to quit. She had dedicated
her life to her job, working evenings at the expense of her social life, without reward. She is
46, with no husband or life outside of work, in a position where she trains men who are
consistently promoted over her.
This often happened in the work place then as men were often perceived as more capable.


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