Attitudes to Marriage in Tops Girls and Catcher in the Rye

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Compare the ways in which different attitudes to marriage are represented in “Top Girls” and the novel “Catcher in the Rye” In Top Girls Churchill presents marriage through different characters, with separate views shared by each character from the male, female, modern and historical perspective on the subject. These views are shown through their relationships, interactions and the choices that they have made. Similarly, in Catcher in the Rye two very different views on marriage are shared through the characters lives and personal thoughts. Through the character of Griselda in Act One, Churchill presents the idea that “a wife must obey her husband” suggesting a traditional view of marriage that is not commonly accepted among society in the twenty first century. It expresses the view that in marriage the woman becomes a possession or a servant of some sort. The word “obey” presents the historically held idea that women should have no power and should serve the men in their families; this lowers their status and increases inequality within society. However her views are met with horror and outrage from the other characters in the play showing that Caryl Churchill knows that this is not a popular view today but nevertheless, it must be looked at as some people still hold such belief. Also by using “a wife” Churchill removes the individual and instead leaves a category, as if women do not deserve to be treated separately and are all the same. This leaves all women to be judged without any chance to build their own reputation on their merit and is used by Churchill as a way of provoking a response from her audience in a way that cleverly echoes that of the women on stage. In Catcher in the Rye Holden thinks of running away to his idealistic paradise to escape from his fear of adulthood. The concept of marriage as idealistic is supported within Top Girls in Act Two when Nell says, “Derek asked me to marry him again… I told him I wasn’t going to play house” showing that...
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