Essay about A Feminist Analysis of Cloud Nine

2229 Words Mar 28th, 2002 9 Pages
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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A prime example of this kind of thinking can be found in the Act Two version of Betty. After Betty leaves Clive, she is forced to get a job. Working is a completely new concept for her and at first it seems to frighten her, but after a while she seems to enjoy it. Maud is also a good example; she asserts several times in Act One that she believes that a woman's place is in the home. The objectification of women is often tied to economic privilege and profit making (Bryant-Bertail, 2). This can be easily found if one observes Clive's relationships with Betty and Mrs. Saunders. He objectifies them both but in very different ways. Clive treats Betty very much as an object of ornamentation, like a prize. She is the "perfect" wife or as he puts it "My wife is all I dreamt a wife should be and everything she is she owes to me" (Churchill, 810). He also refers to her as his "little dove" several times; an obvious reference to Ibsen's A Doll's House. He objectifies Betty in this manner because she is his wife and his display piece for the world to see. In contrast, Clive's attitude toward Mrs. Saunders is purely sexual. He makes her into a sexual object because she is an independent woman and she offers him satisfaction of his lust without any guilt. In one of Clive's many memorable dialogues with Mrs. Saunders he tells her exactly how he feels about her:

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