With specific reference to Act 2 Scene 1 examine Marlene’s character. Consider how the interview process exposed what she is like and the choices she has made. Marlene is a high powered business woman; she has just gained a promotion to managing director of a successful employment agency called ‘Top Girls. ‘ In Act 2 Scene 1 Marlene is positioned in the work environment, this enables the audience to see her perform as she would on a daily basis. This is the first time the audience sees Marlene in the work place you are able to make the observation that Marlene is well suited in this career as she is very ambitious.
Act 1 informed the audience that Marlene just received a promotion this shows she is dedicated and successful within this agency. Marlene’s charisma does a lot to hide her working class roots which she has obviously tried very hard to conceal from the people around her. You would never make the assumption that Marlene is from an impoverish background however, this is revealed when her sister is introduced in Act 2 Scene 2 and shown in working class society.
Marlene has made several choices in life in order to move herself up civilization, which Churchill discloses throughout the play. Marlene is interviewing a young girl, Jeanine, for a job in Act 2 Scene 1. The audience is able to see her brisk interviewing skills here and how Marlene would generally perform in the work place. Marlene is quick to notice Jeanine’s faults; this shows her to be a relatively pessimistic person. She is fairly blunt and seems rushed in this scene. This shows she is a busy woman who is committed to her work.
Churchill purposely exposes the differences within the two women here even though Marlene was once from the same background as Jeanine, her abandoning of the ‘working class’ background is noticeable in this scene as she clearly views Jeanine as being underneath her. This is shown by Marlene using Jeanine’s forename, ” Right Jeanine, you are Jeanine aren’t you? ” which is generally informal and disrespectful in this situation. Marlene is very original in her views of other women, she seems very self indulged, even though she helps people get jobs she is very ambitious and constantly looking ahead.
As Marlene has no one else to worry about Churchill shows her to be self reliant and not want to let anyone else into her life. Jeanine has different ambitions to Marlene, though Jeanine is not necessarily the ambitious type she does have one desire, to get married. Marlene’s character is thoroughly exposed when the idea of marriage and children in introduced. She reacts very negatively to both these aspects and seems to view Jeanine negatively for having this ambition. It is revealed in the Act 3 of ‘Top Girls’ that Marlene in fact gave up her own child in order to pursue her career.
Marlene has made sacrifices, marriage and children to be in the position she is in now and Churchill portrays Marlene to view other people differently for taking this path, like she believes others should make the same choices as she has. When Jeanine mentions not receiving an engagement ring Marlene responds with, “saves taking it off. ” This shows she believes marriage affects work and possibly should stay undisclosed. This shows she is very dedicated to work, possibly too much so. Marlene is definitely a woman who knows what she wants from life and plans ahead to the future.
Jeanine is very much the opposite of this as she is very reliant on other people’s views and ideas instead of her own. When Marlene questions her about ten years time Jeanine replies with “I might not be alive in ten years. ” This shows the audience their obvious differences and Jeanine’s lack of expectations for herself. Marlene is definitely the type of woman who has planned out her next direction in life with steady consideration. Marlene thoroughly believes in commitment to work in order to receive the things you want.
She went in to do higher education in order to pursue a career and distant her self from the working class life, her sister’s life. This has been an inevitable choice for Marlene and she seems very independent. Marlene does not have a close connection with anyone. Here distances are brought across while speaking to Jeanine on the idea of marriage and children but also the idea of cutting Jeanine’s speech up meaning she does not care about her personal life. I don’t believe Marlene leads a great social life as she is very work orientated.
Act one shows us she has never really had any partners showing again her self reliance but also her inability to make time for others. We know she has at least had one partner when it is revealed that Angie is in fact Marlene’s daughter who she handed over to her sister. Though it is never revealed properly why, you get the impression Marlene would not give up the time to look after her daughter and did not want a child to interfere with her plans in future. She wanted to pick the career path not the child path.
Marlene’s new middle class background Marlene is definitely in a better financial state than Joyce but Marlene chooses to leave Joyce to take care on Angie. Marlene is not fond of children so the audience is able to identify that this child was not planned and Marlene left her mistakes behind her by moving away and beginning work. When Jeanine is speaking about her marriage, Marlene is swift to change the subject, possibly showing she is lonely and knows what she has missed out on. Marlene has abandoned the idea of ever getting married, to work for this company, receive her latest promotion etc.
The play provides negative connotations toward being married and having children in this work environment as Marlene says “So you won’t tell them you’re getting married… It would probably help. ” Showing it is more difficult to get a good job when you have other commitments. Relationships are a hindrance for Marlene while Jeanine sees her relationship as her main focus in life. Marlene is very enigmatic as she keeps most problems and situations to herself. She is a serious character, especially in the work place.
In Act 1 you see a slightly more open and humorous side to Marlene however, this was most likely because of her severe alcohol intake. In this interview process, Churchill portrays Marlene as being straight to the point and says what she thinks so that she does not have to waste time. Her job is a busy one and the way she acts towards Jeanine in the interview shows she does not have time to waste “We don’t have any foreign clients. You’d have to go elsewhere. ” Marlene also speeds up the interview so it finishes quickly this may be due to her amount of other work or her disliking of Jeanine, it is unclear because of Marlene’s secretive side.
Marlene seems to live up to the middle class stereotype. There is no connection with anyone from working class background made; this shows Marlene to be ashamed. She is proud for leaving that world behind but keeps it to herself as she doesn’t want people to judge her for whom she used to be. Marlene is presented in many ways. Seeing her in the working environment is very significant as this is how she exposes herself to other people. Churchill wants to shows the differences between the two characters in Act 2 Scene 1. Marlene is apathetic towards Jeanine.
She has dissimilar ambitions to Jeanine and slightly frowns upon her for choosing this path that Marlene has been so successful without. The differences here really highlight Marlene’s thoughts and her as a character. The choices she has made in order to live a middle class career following life are very significant. Giving up a child is a huge decision and Marlene believes in part she made the correct choice and she is now a very successful business woman. You do receive the feeling that it has affected her on the whole as she quickly switches the direction of conversation while speaking with Jeanine about marriage and children.
Also the idea of being very secretive shows Marlene must be slightly ashamed or possibly does not find others very trust worthy. She has changed her image and does not feel the need to mention the past which is mature of Marlene. Overall she is exposed by Churchill as making many significant choices in life which she makes no attempt to change permanently. Marlene is portrayed as being dedicated and successful in the work place and this is largely helped by her steady ambition. She has transformed herself and sacrifices certain aspects of life in order to be successful and have her dream occupation.
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