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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
  • Word count: 1678

In an essay of not more than 1500 words discuss the importance of the restaurant scene in Top Girls.

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A210 Approaching Literature

TMA 06

In an essay of not more than 1500 words discuss the importance of the restaurant scene in Top Girls.

The restaurant scene in Top Girls (TG) revolves around Marlene celebrating her promotion at work, it is purely female gendered, having no male actors present throughout the whole play.  The significance of the five guests she has chosen to celebrate with promotes the hard work and sacrifices she has made in order to get where she is. This scene uses women of the past, to highlight struggles of women through the ages, encompassing the theme of women’s experiences and women at work, with motherhood being an important factor for most of them. They have all had to fight one way or another, in order to succeed in their lives. The focus is on Marlene as the central character, not only because she is the hostess and it is essentially her celebration, but because she connects with the other women and encourages them to carry on with their stories.   Although these characters are created by the author, their stories are very real and are used to portray the kind of person Marlene is, in fighting for what she wants in the contemporary male dominated world of business.

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These life stories introduce a feminist theme, no male being present. This scene sets the theme of the whole play as feminist based, and Marlene progresses through to the following scenes whereas the five characters don’t reappear. Marlene toasts their achievements with ‘We’ve all come a long way. To our courage and the way we changed our lives and our extraordinary achievements’ (p.13 TG). She is obviously including herself in this, as we find out later in the play how she herself sacrificed her child and her family in order to pursue her ambitions. The difference however, between her sacrifices and those of her guests, is that hers were her choice, those of the other women were not their choices. They had to accept what happened to them.

The fact that Marlene is celebrating her promotion with ‘a host of women from myth and history’ (p.235 Literature and Gender L&G), suggests that she has no friends, yet another sacrifice she has had to endure, again of her own choosing.  Her success in business has cost her dearly, suggesting that she is ‘at odds with a world which expects too much of women and offers too little support’ (p. 235 L&G).

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Words: 1559


GOODMAN, Lizbeth, Ed.  Literature and Gender (London: Routledge in association with The Open University, 1996).

CHURCHILL, Caryl. Top Girls (London: Methuen, 1991).


VC1: A210 Approaching Literature: A Doll’s House.

VC 2: A210 Approaching Literature: Top Girls.

Audio Cassette 4: A Doll’s House AC 2123

Audio Cassette 5: A Doll’s House AC 2124

Kay Martin T8355070

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