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1.0 Introduction


Carry Churchill’s Top Girls is an interesting play about how women have defined their roles in a male-dominated society. We are introduced to various women who have pursued their career at the expense of a personal life. The play begins with a dinner party at a restaurant among a group of women. What is notably interesting about this group of women is that they are from different time periods and culture. Churchill does not explain how these women from the past and present are able to converse with each other but the concept of this illogical scene is soon forgotten due to the wittiness and courage shown by all these women to overcome the hardship that they endured in a world ruled by men. The women are;


• Marlene A 0th century woman who has made a successful career for herself.


• Isabella Bird Lived around the 1th century and had traveled widely.





• Lady Nijo Lived around the 1th century. She was the Japanese Emperor’s courtesan, who later in her life, became a Buddhist nun.


• Pope Joan Lived around the th century and disguised herself as a man. Later she became the Pope.


• Griselda Lived around the 1th century and is an obedient wife who’s story is told in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.


• Gret She is the subject of the Brueghel painting in which a woman in an apron and armour leads a crowd of women charging through hell and fighting the devil.


In this essay, I am going to discuss how far women both in history and in the present modern world, have achieved happiness and freedom through their success in the male-dominated world. In order to make the discussion clearer, I have divided the essay into sections according to the characters in the play. Each character is discussed in detail to show to what extent these women have achieved happiness and freedom in their life. I have chosen to discuss six women in this essay. They are Marlene, Isabella, Lady Nijo, Pope Joan, Griselda and Louise, a woman who came to the employment agency to find a better job.


.0 Marlene


Marlene, who had just been promoted as a managing director in an employment agency, holds the dinner party that opens Act One. The scene starts with Marlene ordering a bottle of Frascati. Here, the readers are introduced to Marlene as a woman who wants to be served. The fact that she is ordering the waitress and making a decision not to wait for the others before placing the order, shows a very confident woman who knows what she wants .


Excellent, yes, table for six. One of them’s going to be late


But we won’t wait. I’d like a bottle of Frascati straight away


if you’ve got one really cold. (Churchill1)


I feel that Churchill has successfully established Marlene as a strong character from the beginning itself. Apart from that, Churchill had arranged the play in a way that the last act, Act Three, is actually set a year earlier, in Marlene’s sister’s kitchen. Perhaps, one can assume that the kitchen symbolizes Marlene who is supposed to be a mother or a wife but by putting the scene in the end, it could indicate that she had abandoned her duties as a mother/wife. Thus, the structure of putting the scene in the kitchen which is set a year earlier, in the end, while the scene of Marlene celebrating her career is put in the beginning to establish to the audience that Marlene is a career woman.


Marlene is also seen as a workaholic who wants to come up in the world of business, which is dominated by men. This is evident in the scene where Marlene seemed to be envious of Isabella who is able to travel around the world. Marlene is unable to do any traveling, as she is devoted to her work. It is obvious that Marlene puts a lot of effort into her career that she is willing to sacrifice the little pleasures of life such as taking a holiday, “I’d like to go somewhere exotic like you but I can’t get away.” (1) This shows that Marlene pushes herself to the limit to achieve success. The fact that Marlene, being a woman, needs to prove herself in the male-dominated business world by working hard, shows that not only is she determined, she is also sacrificing her happiness by putting all her efforts in her career. Other than that, it has been years since she has been to church. This shows that religion takes a back step when one is busy advancing one’s career. Marlene’s attitude is more like a man than a woman. What is interesting to note here is that when the conversation steered towards clothes, Marlene insisted that she does not wear trousers to work even though she could wear it, “I don’t wear trousers in the office. I could but I don’t.” (8) It is as if Marlene is self-conscious of being labeled a man. By choosing not to wear trousers, Marlene seems to insists that she is still retaining her feminine side.


Marlene does not have a man in her life. Perhaps this indicates she does not want to be burdened by wifely duties. Marlene wants to be independent. As an individual, Marlene does not have to explain her actions to anyone and is not tied down. Thus, she has the freedom to do what she wants. At one part of the conversation, Pope Joan talked about feeling ill and regret after being made a cardinal. To that Marlene commented, “yes, success is very…” (1). She did not complete her sentence. Did she want to say that success is very fulfilling or just the opposite? Were all her sacrifices worth the success that she is enjoying now? Perhaps this gives a hint that Marlene is slightly disappointed with her life. She may be very successful in her career but she has no one to go back to when she goes home. There is no family to greet her when she goes back home or to show her love. Although one can assume that her unfinished sentence could indicate a tone of regret, Churchill quickly establishes that Marlene is against having a family. This is indicated when Pope Joan mentioned about her baby and Marlene’s immediate question was, “Didn’t you think of getting rid of it?”(15) Marlene’s callousness is evident here. Marlene sees children as inconvenience. She sees babies as barriers, an obstruction to become successful. This is further seen when Marlene was interviewing Jeanine, a girl who wants to look for another job with better prospects, Marlene asked Jeanine not to mention the fact that she was going to get married, during her job interview.


Marlene So, you won’t tell them you’re getting married?


Jeanine Had I better not?


Marlene It would probably help / There’s no need to mention


it when you go for an interview. (1)


Perhaps, Marlene feels that a married woman would not succeed in securing a good job. This could be because married women would have to take maternity leave and this would not be in favour of the employer. This would definitely affect their performance at work. This could explain why Marlene herself is not married. She even had two abortions, “I’ve had two abortions/it wasn’t a problem/I don’t want a baby.”(81) Marlene was not willing to keep any of her babies because she does not want any family responsibilities to get in the way of her career.


All the efforts and energy that Marlene put into her work, finally paid off when she was made the managing director of her agency. She was picked over another male for the post. It is a post that Marlene deserves as she worked hard and sacrificed a lot to reach that position. This is supported by her colleagues who felt that Marlene deserved the post compared to Howard Kidd, a male worker.


Howard thinks because he’s a fella the job was his as of right.


Our Marlene’s got more balls than Howard and that’s that. (46)


Although Marlene is a woman, it is clear that Marlene is better than Howard in her job. Howard could not accept the fact that he lost the post of managing director to a woman. He fell sick due to this. Perhaps Howard felt that it would be a disgrace to take orders from a woman. This is confirmed when Howard’s wife comes to see Marlene and asks her to give up her job to him.


What’s it going to do to him working for a woman? I think if it


was a man he’d get over it as something normal.-/ It had crossed


my mind if you were unavailable after all for some reason, he


would be the natural second choice I think, don’t you? I’m


not asking. (58-5)


It is as if Howard’s wife is threatening Marlene to give up her job as she mentioned in the end that she was not asking. She was probably ordering Marlene to step down as it would be a disgrace for her husband to work under a woman. She even goes on to accuse Marlene of not being sympathetic and cursed Marlene that she would have a miserable life, “You’ll end up miserable and lonely. You’re not natural” (5). Mrs. Howard feels that a woman should not be more successful than a man. That could be the reason why she felt that Marlene was not natural. Just like what Mrs. Howard said, Marlene is living a lonely life. Could she truly find happiness by only having a successful career?


There is also competition among the female workers for a higher position. This is evident when Marlene asked Nell if she felt bad because Marlene got the promotion instead of her to which Nell answered, “I don’t like coming second” (50). The competition among them resembles a male power structure. In addition, the language used by these working women when talking among themselves, such as “more balls”, “nerd” and “little bugger”, indicates that they have even adopted the style of speech that is commonly used by males. Do women have to be like men in terms of character and attitude in order to compete with them? Do women also become the oppressor when they have become successful?


Success has made Marlene to become a very harsh person. She commented to one of her friends that Angie, her own daughter, would not be successful in life. She stated that Angie would most probably end up being a packer at Tesco. She even went on to call her stupid, “She’s a bit thick. She’s a bit funny/She’s not going to make it” (66). Apart from that, in a conversation with her sister, Joyce, Marlene suggested that Joyce could have left their place like she did, to which Joyce asked, “How could I have left?/I said how could I?” (76). Unlike Marlene who ran away from her responsibilities as a mother and daughter, Joyce thought about taking care of their own mother, her husband and the daughter that Marlene had abandoned to pursue her career. Marlene got pregnant when she was seventeen and left her baby in the care of Joyce. She knew that a baby would only be in the way of pursuing a career for herself. In order to have a successful career, Marlene had become harsh and selfish. She is not bothered about other people and feels ashamed to be associated with the working class. This is supported by Joyce’s statement accusing Marlene of being ashamed of her own sister.


….you’re ashamed of me if I came to your office, your smart


friends, wouldn’t you, I’m ashamed of you, think of nothing


but yourself. (85)


In her pursuit of a career, Marlene had become hard on the inside. Perhaps Marlene sees emotional attachment as a weakness. Marlene also believes that only those who work hard will succeed.


Anyone can do anything if they’ve got what it takes/If they’re


stupid or lazy or frightened, I’m not going to help them get


a job, why should I? (86)


Here, Marlene’s selfishness and individualism comes across. Success has made Marlene to look down on other people. She is tough and thinks that anybody else, who is not strong enough, does not fit to be in the working class world. She has become just like a man. She has become the oppressor.


Has success brought freedom to Marlene? Yes, she does have freedom to do what she wants but what about happiness? Marlene is so busy trying to get ahead of her career that she has no time to take a vacation or go out with men. She has to give away her own daughter. She has no one to go back to at the end of the day. She has no family. She has no one to love her. Marlene may be successful in her career but in life, she is one lonely woman.


.0 Isabella


Isabella Bird is a traveler who lived around the 1th century. She is a person who cannot sit still. She is always traveling. During her travels, Isabella mentioned that she did miss her sister, Hennie, but she did not go back as she is not suited for the quiet life that her sister enjoys. The fact that Isabella had met the Emperor of Morocco shows that she has traveled wide. Isabella is a very independent woman. She did not get married until the age of fifty, “And I didn’t get married till I was fifty” (). This shows that she is able to live without a man for a long time. Her marriage does show that for all her independence, Isabella still needed a man in her life. However, Isabella did not marry because she loved he husband, rather it was the dedication and compassion he showed towards her sister when Hennie was ill, that made her marry him.


It was Doctor Bishop’s devotion to her in her last illness that


made me decide to marry him. He and Hennie had the same


sweet character. I had not. (11)


Isabella did not marry so that her husband can protect her. Perhaps she married him hoping that his good character would influence her and do her some good as she stated that she did not have his “sweet character”.


She is also a very knowledgeable person. Even though Isabella lived around the 1th century, her father taught her Latin although she was a girl. This shows that her father wanted her to be educated. This could explain why she is not like many of her other contemporary woman who are uneducated and sit in the house. However, Isabella claims that she is more suited for domestic work.


My father taught me Latin although I was a girl/ But really I


was more suited to manual work. Cooking, washing, mending,


riding horses. (-4)


This seems to be in contradicting to her character that is not able to stay in a place for long. Perhaps if Isabella did get married at a young age, she would probably make someone a good wife.


Through the character of Isabella, Churchill brings across the idea of feminine in a man’s world. Although Isabella travels widely and is independent, she insists that she is still a feminine.


Well, I always traveled as a lady and I repudiated strongly any


suggestion in the press that I was other than feminine. (8)


By stating that she travels like a lady, Isabella comes across as a strong character as she is not afraid to travel as a lone woman. She is also proud being a woman. This shows that Isabella has a lot of freedom in a male-dominated society.


When her husband died, she did not give up hope. This shows she has a lot of courage and determination as she was already fifty-six years old at that time, “I detemined to leave my grief behind and set off for Tibet”(1). The fact that she decided to go to Tibet shows that she is a woman who takes control of her own life. Furthermore, evidence of her tough character clearly comes across when she goes mountain-climbing with a group of people. She proved that a woman can be better than a man when she managed to finish the climb.


We were crossing a mountain pass at seven thousand feet, the


cook was all to pieces, the muleteers suffered fever and snow


blindness. But even though my spine was agony I managed very


well. (1)


Isabella had proved that women are not weak and sensitive. They can be brave and tough and should be treated with respect.


Similar to Marlene, Isabella leads a lonely life. After her husband died, she did not remarry or have any close relationships with men. Her only companion seemed to be a horse named Birdie.


I never had any children. I was very fond of horses/ Birdie was


my favourite. (18)


She described her favourite horse in a very loving manner as if she was describing a child. Perhaps there is a hint of sadness here as like Marlene, Isabella does not have a family to go to. This could explain why she got actively involved in community work. She needed to occupy herself, something to keep her busy so that she would not be lonely.


Isabella has been successful in her own right where she has proved herself to be worthy in a male-dominated society. She has not only traveled the world on her own but she has proved that for a woman, she is as capable as a man. However, her interest in traveling and the idea of independence had eluded her from having any serious relationship with men. Thus, could Isabella truly be happy with the life she has chosen? Perhaps her active involvement in community work gives a clue of her unhappiness and her feelings of not wanting to be lonely.


4.0 Lady Nijo


Nijo is the Japan’s Emperor’s concubine who lived in the 1th century. She became his concubine at the age of 14 . When Marlene asked if she was raped by the emperor, Nijo denied it and defended the emperor’s act by saying that it was her duty to serve him.


I belonged to him, it was what I was brought up from a baby. I


soon found I was sad if he stayed away. It was depressing day


after day not knowing when he would come. ()


Nijo needed the emperor. She wanted to be with him. Since small, Nijo had been told that she was to serve the Emperor. Thus, without the Emperor, Nijo feels incomplete. The Emperor made her happy as she did not fell lonely.


Nijo is portrayed as a dutiful daughter. She became a nun because that is what her father wanted if she could not make the emperor happy anymore.


Serve His Majesty, be respectful, if you lose his favour


enter holy orders. ()


Nijo did as her father asked. Nijo admits that half of her life was spent in a sinful manner by serving the Emperor while the rest of it was spent looking for atonement for her sins (5). When Pope Joan asked her which life she liked best, she answered ‘repentance’. She found happiness in her later life. Perhaps Nijo felt guilty that all this while she not only led a life of sin but also a life of comfort. While serving the emperor, she enjoyed being lavished in good clothes. This is evident by her comment, “What I enjoyed most was being the Emperor’s favourite/and wearing think silk” (4). Here Nijo shows her feminine side. Unlike Isabella, Nijo prefers to stay at home and serve the emperor. She liked the comfortable life. The only time she showed any defiant towards the emperor was when she hit him with a stick in protest of her and the other courtesans’ treatment by the emperor’s servants. This is the only time we see Nijo going against the norm. As a woman in the 1th century, Nijo showed a lot of courage by hitting the emperor.


Afterwards, there was a terrible fuss. The nobles were horrified.


‘We wouldn’t even dream of stepping on your Majesty’s Shadow’.


And I had hit him with a stick. Yes, I hit him with a stick.(7)


However, this success that Nijo enjoyed in the male-dominated society may actually hinder the freedom of other women of similar position to Nijo. According to Jones in his article, Gender Roles in Churchill’s Top Girls,


Nijo attacking her Emperor is likely to have caused the Emperor


to restrict significantly the liberty of his concubines, the liberty


that Nijo enjoyed. In this way, future women are prevented from


achieving what Joan and Nijo do. (1)


Thus, Nijo’s defiant act could actually result in less freedom for future concubines of the Emperor. On the other hand, Nijo’s action could be seen as the opening all the other women need to get men to teat them with respect. Nijo had set and example for all the other woman to fight for their rights and to be taken seriously.


It is interesting to note that most of Churchill’s women characters gave up their babies. Marlene gave up her baby so that she could get a career and make something out of herself. Griselda gave up her babies as a sign of love and devotion to her husband. Nijo gave up her babies to be in favour of the Emperor and lead a comfortable life as the emperor’s concubine. Nijo became pregnant with her lover’s child and had to give up the baby in order to be in the favour of the emperor. Subsequently, Nijo gave up all her three babies as she was afraid the Emperor would punish her as the babies were not his. Here, we can see that Nijo has no freedom to do what she wants in her life. Nijo cannot be truly happy with her life as she had to give up her children. When the group of women was talking about Griselda getting back her children, Nijo commented that she did not get her children back and she started crying (5). Nijo may have been successful in being the best concubine to the Emperor but she could not find happiness as in the later part of her life, she lived alone without anybody to care for her.


5.0 Pope Joan


Pope Joan was a woman who lived her life as a man and went on to become the Pope in the th century. When she was twelve, Joan dressed as a boy, not only to protect herself but it was also the only way she could learn theology. During her time, women were not allowed to study, “Women weren’t allowed in the library” (8). We can see how determined Joan was that she was willing to pretend to be a boy even at that young age. Her determination and courage is something to be looked up at but she had to dress up as a boy to do this. Joan had to hide behind a boy’s appearance to be someone.


Later on, when Joan was made a Cardinal, she felt ill and for two weeks she did not speak to any one as she was full of terror and regret. Perhaps she was afraid that her disguise might be found out or it could be that she was guilty of her success as she got it through pretending to be a man. It could also be the fact that to be given such heavy responsibility had made her anxious. It can be clearly seen that Joan went through a lot of unhappiness and guilt in her pursue of a career. Later, she was made a Pope, the highest post in the Christian religion. One can see that Joan has become a very successful person as she was at the pinnacle of her career. During the conversation among the group of women, one could sense the power that Pope Joan held over the people when she stated quite briefly, “I never obeyed anyone. They all obeyed me”(1). We must not forget that this is a woman who lived in the th century and she made men to obey her and kiss her feet. This is definitely a feat hard to follow.


On the other hand, it is clear that Joan did not find much happiness in her life. All her live, she lived in pretence. She has to sacrifice her feminine side in order to pursue a career. Furthermore, Pope Joan is ridden with guilt as she held the notion that God does not speak to women. She thought that once she was made the Pope, she would be able to communicate with God and know everything. This proved to be false and she thought it was because she was a woman, “I thought God would speak to me directly, but of course he knew I was a woman” (14). God is seen here as someone who is bias as God only communicates with men and not women.


Pope Joan could have led a successful life until the end if it was not for her lust. She became pregnant and had no means of getting rid of the baby as she did not know how. She gave birth to a child in the middle of the street during a procession. As the result of the embarrassment and humiliation she caused the church, Joan was stoned to death together with her child. It was a tragic end to someone as intelligent as her. In her conversation among the group of women, Joan sates,


I shouldn’t have been a woman. Women, children and lunatics


can’t be Pope. (15)


There is a lot of frustration in Joan. Joan knew that she would have been a very good Pope if she had carried on but the fact was, she was born a woman, and as a woman, there was nothing she could do or accomplish in a male-dominated society.


Similar to all the other women characters such as Marlene, Isabella and Nijo, Pope Joan achieved great success in her career but there was a lot of unhappiness in her life. She had to live her life pretending to be a male. She had no freedom to be herself. Although she enjoyed the life of comfort and luxury of being the Pope, guilt was eating her up as she knew that God knew the truth. Pope Joan had to sacrifice her happiness and freedom to be successful in the male dominated world.





6.0 Griselda


Griselda is a woman who lived around the 1th century. She is portrayed as an obedient wife who is too good to be true. Churchill introduces Griselda by stating that she ‘arrives unnoticed’ to the party hosted by Marlene. Perhaps Churchill wants to show that just as how she was not noticed immediately by the group, Griselda’s sacrifice and success in her life also went unnoticed and unappreciated by her husband.


Griselda’s wedding was like a fairy tale, where the poor peasant girl was rescued by a rich marquis. What started off as a fairy tale, did not continue to be one. Griselda, as the obedient and dutiful wife, did not once question any of her husband’s actions. Griselda knew her wifely duties very well.


But of course a wife must obey her husband./And of course


I must obey the Marquis. (1)


Even when Marlene was critical of her husband, Walter, Griselda was quick to defend him, saying that Walter really loved her.


He was very kind/ I’m sure he loved me, Marlene,


all the time. ()


Perhaps Griselda was just trying to convince herself that her husband’s love for her was genuine and deep. The phrase, “I’m sure he loved me” suggest an uncertainty in Griselda’s part. She was not firm in making the statement. Thus this could suggest that Griselda herself has doubts of her husband’s love towards her.


What brings out Griselda as a strong character is that she had endured all her suffering with a lot of courage. Griselda had to give up her first-born, a daughter, to prove her loyalty towards her husband. She was willing to be separated from her child and knowing that her child would be killed, she still gave her daughter without any struggle as she had promised her husband that she would obey him. When her husband asked for their daughter with the intent of murdering the baby, Griselda gave her up willingly to show her obedience to her husband.


I asked him to give her back so I could kiss her. And


I asked him to bury her where no animals could dig


her up./It was Walter’s child to do what he liked with.()


Griselda felt that her husband had all the right to do what he wanted with their child. She did not harbour any ill feelings towards her husband and stated that “We were very happy together. We never spoke about what had happened” (). Perhaps it was the fact that they never spoke about it, helped their relationship because her husband did not have to defend his actions to her. Six years later, Griselda again was willing to give up her two-year-old son because her husband had asked her to. All he had to do was ask, and she was willing to obey. What freedom or happiness does she get for being such an obedient wife? All she ever endures is the suffering of giving up her children. When Nijo asked her if it was easier or harder to give up her child the second time, Griselda simply replied,


It was always easy because I always knew I would


do what he said”()


It is always not easy to give up a child, especially if you have nurtured the child for two years. What her husband asked her to do was a sacrifice that no mother would want to face. However Griselda had promised to obey her husband and this is the principal she holds on to. No matter what happens, her husband’s happiness always comes first. Griselda’s success is seen through her obedience to her husband. She has no freedom to choose what she wants. Everything is dictated by her husband.


Twelve years after taking away her son, her husband wanted to be separated from her. The explanation he gave for sending her away was that the people wanted him to remarry so that he could produce an heir. What is ironic here is that he was given an heir when Griselda gave birth to a son but he took it away. Now he claims that he needs to remarry so that he would have an heir. Griselda never objected to being sent away. In fact, she volunteered to go back to her father because she knew that was what he wanted.


So I said I’d go home to my father. I came with nothing/


so I went with nothing. I took of my clothes. He let me


keep a slip so he wouldn’t be shamed/ I was perfectly


content. (4)


Griselda gladly accepted her fate. She did not make a scene or accuse her husband of anything. She did not demand for anything and left to her father’s house with no clothes except for a slip. I believe she would have gladly even left without a slip if it would not embarrass her husband. That was the extent of her obedience. On the other hand, perhaps, Griselda is void of any feelings because she had accepted and endured a lot of hardship and struggle in her life. Thus being sent away is not something new to her. This could explain why she did not show any emotion and accepted her fate without question.


Griselda did not have much happiness in her life as her children were taken away from her and later she was left by her husband. However, towards the end, Griselda did have some happiness when she was called back to her husband’s house and was presented with her children. Griselda was over-joyed because her husband did not kill the children as she had thought. Perhaps, for all the struggle and hardship she has gone through, she was finally rewarded. Even until the end, Griselda, the ever dutiful wife, did not blame her husband for all the hardship she went through. In fact, she stated that her husband also “suffered so much all these years” (5). No one can go through life as Griselda did. She showed a lot of admirable qualities in enduring her life and came out of it with success and was rewarded in the end with happiness.


7.0. Louise


Louise is a 46 years old lady who had worked for the same company for the past 0 years. She came to the employment agency to look for a better job than her present one. Win, who was interviewing Louise, commented on her age. For a woman, being old can be seen as a disadvantage in finding for a job.


Louise Forty-six


Win It’s not necessarily a handicap, well it is of course


we have to face that, but it’s not necessarily a


disabling handicap, experience does count for something. (51)


Being middle-aged for a woman can be seen as a barrier to attain good jobs. During the interview, win suggested Louise applies for jobs that are catered more for women. There are two reasons for Win’s suggestion. First, Louise would have to compete with younger men and second, being above 40 and a woman, chances for Louise to get a job is very slim.


vacancies are going to be ones where you’ll be in competition


with younger men… There are also fields that are easier for a


women, there is a cosmetic company here where your experience


might be relevant. (5-5)


In a business-world dominated by men, experience does not count much if one is a female.


The reason Louise is unhappy with her present job, is the fact that she had been overlooked when it comes to promotion. She had been doing the same job for 0 years. Men, far younger than her, have all been promoted to better jobs.


I’ve seen young men who I trained go on, in my own


company or elsewhere, to higher things. Nobody notices


me, I don’t expect it, I don’t attract attention by making


mistakes, everybody takes it for granted that my work


is perfect. (5)


Although Louise is a good worker who hardly makes any mistakes, she felt that she was overlooked for any promotion because she was a female.


Louise herself acts like a man. Being a woman, she looks down on other women’s capabilities of doing a job. This is evidently clear when she stated,


There was one, she was my assistant, it was the only time


I took on a young woman assistant. I always had my doubts.


I don’t care greatly for working with women. (5)


Louise does not trust another woman to do a job well. There was only once she had a woman to assist her. Instead of helping other female to come up in a male dominated-business world, Louise expresses her doubts on another female carrying her duties well. Not only does Louise have a male attitude, she also compares herself to a man. “I think I pass as a man at work”. (5) Perhaps she is comparing herself to a man to show the extent of how hard she works. She sacrificed her social life for the company that she works for.


I’ve lived for that company, I’ve given my life really you


Could say because I haven’t had a great deal of social life.


I’ve worked in the evenings. (51-5)


Louise felt that even though she worked hard and dedicated her life for the company, she was not appreciated. Louise is extremely unhappy trying to compete with men.





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Status of Implementation


• The implementation of the AI checker player is complete


• My player wins against the Naive_AI when played as both white and black


• It is yet unable to beat the Strong_AI





• The AI has a problem of sometimes falling into a loop of moves, where it keeps doing the same moves again and again. I tried to resolve the problem however wasn’t successful. It does the looping only with the Naïve_AI because the Naïve_AI also falls into a loop.


Description of the Board Evaluation Function used


For designing the board evaluation function I have taken ideas from the following sites


• http//ai-depot.com/LogicGames/AlphaBeta-Cutoff.html


• CHECKERS By Roee Gutman and Tamir Rosenblum


The evaluation function has been basically designed as a weighted sum of properties such as


• Piece Advantage - difference in the number of pieces


• King Advantage - difference in the number of Kings


• Position Advantage - weighted sum of the board positions occupied


• Move Advantage - total number of possible moves


• Back Row - guard back row till possible


• Men to King - encourage men to become kings


• No of Captures - no of opposite player piece we can captured


• Pieces Captured - number of our pieces that can be captured





the evaluation function uses two sets of weights, the first set is used during the initial phase of the games when number of total pieces is greater then 1 and the next set of weights are used when we have 1 or less pieces on the board. This is done to indicate change in priorities.


Evaluation of the AI player


• The AI falls intermediate between Naïve_AI and Strong_AI


• I feel if we can manage a right mix of weights my AI player can beat the strong _AI


• There scope to implement learning, by making the AI learn the weights instead of us hard coding the weights.





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In what ways do Romeo and Juliet stand out as Characters?


In one of the most recognised plays of all time “Romeo and Juliet” would have to have characters that stand out and make the audience feel as if they have known these people for more “the two hours of the stage”. This play makes you experience real emotions for the characters by putting them in a situation, which seems so real because it’s about love, a thing that most of us have experienced at one time or another.


One thing that strikes oneself when reading the start of the play is how the parents treat their children. Both sets are obviously very rich, so maids or servants care for them leaving bonds between parent and child restricted. This has certain effects on them so when the parents do try and talk its extremely difficult. Romeo’s parents distance themselves from him, as they do not completely understand him. This forces them to have his cousin Benvolio, the person closest to Romeo to try and keep track of his whereabouts and feelings


LM “O where is Romeo? Saw you him today?”





B “Madam, an hour before the worshipped sun…”


This is why they let him roam with a fair amount of freedom and hope that his cousin is good enough for him. Romeo though has other plans, and looks towards the friar for comfort and often to solve his problems too.


The Capulet family have a different approach to treating their daughter, even though they do tend to distance themselves they still keep her very controlled and close to them because as their only heir to the family fortune they don’t want her to get into unnecessary trouble and would guard her chastity very tightly. Here the father, a very demanding figure wants her to marry Paris only for the reason that he is a rich man and if they wed then their financial status will be secured


“In all respects by me; nay more, I doubt it not.


Wife, go you to her ere you go to bed,


Acquaint her here of my son Paris’s love,


And bid her-mark you me-on Wednesday next.”


Of course by her fathers actions she acquires rebellious ways but these backfire with disastrous consequences when she speaks of her troubles to her father concerning her wish not to marry Paris


C “And you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend;


And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets.”


She naturally strays from her father because of his arrogance and steers clear of the mother because of her juvenility, inaccessibility and coldness


LC “(talking about Juliet) This is the matter. Nurse, give leave a while,


We must talk in secret. Nurse, come back again.”


So she keeps close to her Nurse. The Nurse being a caring having lost a child herself but sloth like in her duties. Juliet relates to her as her own mother by asking for advice and the nurse obviously feels the same way as she goes and chases up Romeo and interrogates him like any mother would upon finding out Juliet’s love for him. She also is prepared to lie and play dangerously for Juliet as she cares for Juliet’s feelings very much


Romeo is melancholic which is plain to see when Benvolio is explaining to Romeo’s parents about his recent activities


“And gladly shunned who gladly fled from me.” He tries to shadow this by being alone much of the time. In a recent Hollywood adaptation of the play Romeo is seen writing some poetry, about mostly his rejected love for Rosaline and this sums up his character well


“And private in his chamber pens himself,


Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out.”


Further proof about his melancholic personality trying to be hidden is his use of language in a conversation. Romeo is very sharp and can talk himself out of an uncomfortable situation whenever he feels like it. He has no willingness to make friends either, especially as the friends he knows now are far much less intelligent than him causing him to be fed up with people. He sometimes mocks the other person’s intelligence as we can see with Benvolio here


R “Dost thou not laugh?”


B “No, coz, I rather weep.”


R “Good heart, at what?”


B “At thy good heart’s oppression.”


Another good example of his sharpness,


“Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes with nimble soles, I have a soul of lead.”


Romeo’s personality does change though but only when he is around his love Juliet. His language changes to a positive state and we can see this when he uses hyperbolic sentences


“Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,


Having some business, do entreat her eyes


To twinkle in their spheres till they return.”


There is also evidence that he doesn’t think that much of himself but many people think he is testing her intelligence with verbal games and he clearly enjoys it as no one else really understands him like her. Here he says that he is nothing compared to Juliet, her hand is a shrine and Romeo is a pilgrim


“If I profane with my unworthiest hand


This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this,


My lips two blushing pilgrims…”


Destiny and being star-crossed lovers bring these two together. Destiny plays a heavy part in Shakespeare’s day (as the theory went that the stars controlled everyone and no one could prevent or change their future.) So idea is featured heavily in the relationship between the two as the stars features many times in the conversations


R “Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,” Shakespeare seems almost obsessed with foreshadowing the tragedy that will eventually engulf these “star-crossed lovers” and involves other people to predict it too


FriL “And thou art wedded to calamity.”





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Some people go throughout their lives living under a veil, whether it is intentional or not. Here in America, most people choose to live like this without ever knowing there are other options out there. They get up in the morning, go to work, come home and go to sleep. They listen to their music and watch their programs and probably pay attention to the news every day. The problem is, some of those people never question what they have and how it came to be, just that they have their life and that is all that is important. That is what America is all about, doing what you want and being able to ignore all the wrong in the world.


Having this freedom can be considered a fault because too many things are taken for granted. For example; a male in his mid-twenties working for a living, owns his own vehicle, has a nice apartment, high-tech toys for his entertainment. He never has to worry about where his next meal is going to come from or if someone is going to come and haul him off to jail. He believes his government is corrupt and evil, they make his life horrible, yet he won’t put in the effort to vote for his politicians. If only he could go live in Iraq for a week under Saddam’s rule and learn how hard life can really be, maybe the veil over his eyes would be lifted.


The saying goes, “Don’t believe everything you hear.” After the World War, people were terrified of anyone who was different. An upstanding citizen could laugh the wrong way and would be termed a communist even when most people didn’t understand what that word meant. This happened because the media told the American people what to think. If you were different, then you were evil, and this included works of literature. Just like the Nazi’s, groups would get together and burn books right in the street, shouting and cheering like God himself was joining in. Heaven forbid someone should be creative and use their freedom of speech to express themselves. Eventually the book burning stopped, and thankfully the experience inspired some authors to use it to their advantage.


One of these authors was Ray Bradbury and he created a world that just might have happened if things had been different. “Fahrenheit 451,” was set many decades after the book burning period. People stopped being themselves so no one would ever get upset, even the Bible was banned because other religions didn’t agree with it. Instead of individuals, there was a sad society going from one day to the next doing exactly the same thing. There was no color left, no dreams, no desires, just air. In our world, Fire Fighters are hero’s, people who save lives and protect our most prized possessions. In Bradbury’s world, fire fighters destroy them by burning any house down that has a book inside of it. They don’t even care if people are inside; it is their job to keep the public in line.





Guy Montag was one of these men. He lived his whole life under the veil created around him, never questioning it, just doing what everyone else did. He was married to a woman named Mildred who he had no real connection with, and had never looked up at the stars. Then one day he met a young girl named Clarisse, who was everything he wasn’t but wanted to be. She was full of life and joy; she found everything in the world interesting and didn’t care what anyone thought of her. Clarisse opened Guy’s eyes to the real world, made him want to think on his own instead of following society. She was his savior, and he broke out of that world because of her.


There was a movie made a couple of years ago that had very similar characters to Bradbury’s. This movie was called “American Beauty” and the main character’s name was Lester Burnham. He was going through life numb, just doing the same routine day in and day out. The difference was his veil covered just his life. He was caught in a marriage with a woman that was just as cold to him as Mildred was to Guy. Lester didn’t have anything that made his life worthwhile, until a young girl named Angela came into the picture. Angela would be about the same age as Clarisse, and though their personalities definitely clash, the affects they had on Guy and Lester are very much the same. When Lester saw Angela for the first time, he said, “It’s the strangest thing. I feel like I’ve been in a coma for thirty years and I’m first now waking up(American Beauty).” He began to stand up to his wife, quit his job that he hated, and found something that brought happiness to him. His wife Carolyn was somewhat similar to Mildred where she made the decision to destroy Lester’s life, but instead of calling the fire department, she was going to do it herself.


The Burnham’s neighbor, Ricky, was probably more like Clarisse overall. He looked at everything and wasn’t afraid to be curious, it was all beautiful to him. Life was a wondrous creation he could constantly be caught up in, even a plastic bag dancing in circles for an hour. Ricky did have an impact on Lester, not quite as much as Angela, but he made him want to live life more carefree and open to more possibilities.


Unlike Lester and Guy, some people live under a veil purposefully. They don’t want to open their lives up to happiness and new things. One character from John Osborne’s play, “Look Back in Anger,” lived his whole life this way. Jimmy Porter lived in a tiny apartment with his silent wife, worked a low-paying job, and complained about anything and everything. He was a well educated man who was never happy with anything and liked it that way. Jimmy believed that the only way to feel anything was if it was negative, so he constantly talked down to people about their lives and how small and insignificant they were. He wanted someone with him that would be just as unhappy and opinionated as he was.


Even though Jimmy could take on almost any job he wanted, he chose to stay at a poor one so his life would always be bad. He was against everything rich people were for, creating a constant downfall for him. The thing is he wasn’t really for the working class either since he talked down to everyone that wasn’t as educated as him. He was bored with his life because his friends didn’t have the knowledge to keep up with him, and he wanted nothing to do with the people who would be able to. Jimmy is a hypocrite in wanting the rich to suffer because they have too much. He has everything he wants and yet he closes himself off from enjoying anything. His wife Alison wasn’t even enough to open him up.


Alison was an interesting character because she had so many thoughts and feelings she wanted to say out loud to Jimmy, but never opened her mouth until she was at her lowest point. She let him bash her and her family the whole time they were together, all the while knowing that he just wanted her to speak up and think for herself. She was selfish knowing she could control him in the way of him lashing out at everyone. Alison would turn to Jimmy’s friend to defend her when all she had to do was talk to him. She kept herself there when she could have had any life she wanted. And when she finally went away, she couldn’t stand being away from Jimmy. She was probably more pitiful than Jimmy since she couldn’t find her own path, only what others put before her. Neither of them wanted to break out of their sad little life because that was the only way they didn’t feel numb.


Everyone has some kind of veil over their eyes, whether they know it or not. When it comes to Americans, too many people choose to never lift that veil and look at what is out there. One main concern is the environment and how we are going to keep it safe. Another is population control for the world. It is important that we are educated on some of these issues at a young age, but no one seems interested in enforcing it. Like Clarisse, someone needs to take a stand and start making a difference, even if it is just to one person. A chain reaction will occur and maybe our planet will survive for another millennium. Otherwise we will just go on with out daily lives and ignore all the things that really matter, and one day our world will end like the city in Bradbury’s book. We have to stop living behind this wall, acting like nothing will ever happen. Our world can not end up like Guy’s or Jimmy’s; we need to have a world full of Clarisse’s and Ricky’s.


Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. The Ballantine Publishing Group, 150.


Osborne, John. Look Back in Anger. Penguin Group, 157.


American Beauty. Sam Mendes. Jinks/Cohen Company. Perf. Kevin Spacey,Annette Benning, and Peter Gallagher. Dreamworks Pictures, 000.


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How do the writers of “the Cone”, The Red Room” and “The Man with the Twisted Lip, create atmosphere, tension and suspense?


In this piece of course work I will be looking at how the writers of three short stories create atmosphere, tension and suspense, through the choice of setting, the role of the narrator, how the other characters are used, how the stories are structured, the use of language, your own response to the stories. I will be looking at “The Cone” and “The Red Room” by H.G Wells, and “The Man with the Twisted Lip” By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


In “The Red Room” Wells uses mans fear of darkness to his advantage “even with seven candles the place was merely dim” (pg7), Wells knows that most people are afraid of the dark and so he knows that the reader can relate to the characters when the become afraid of the darkness, this builds up tension with the reader as they can relate to what is happening. This is the only story out of all three that is set in a secluded place “Lorraine Castle” (pg5) In history castles have been the settings of many horror stories and having his book set in a castle instantly creates a sense tension and atmosphere as the reader knows that a castles are already scary places.


This is in contrast to the other two stories as they are both set in outside areas or move between different areas. “The Man with the Twisted Lip” is set in London but in two contrasting parts the respectable area of “Lee” (pg8) and the crime infested East end where the docks are situated. This contrast creates an atmosphere as the reader is kept wondering what will happen next? Doyle uses human fears to his advantage just like Wells does in “The Red Room” in the Victorian time when this story would have been read the industrial revolution was happening and the new machines and vehicles would have been slightly scary to them. So the docks would have been a scary place to them. Also the “Vile alleys” would have been a scary place to the Victorians as Jack the ripper was around there and the alleys are where Jack the Ripper killed. All of this really creates atmosphere, tension and suspense to the reader, especially the Victorian readers. Doyle really built upon this by using scenes like sounds and smells, which are a humans best scenes, to give the reader a better picture in their head of what is being described.





In “The Cone” also by Wells he used the Victorian reader’s lack of knowledge for the new machinery to build up atmosphere, tension and suspense like Doyle did in “The Man with the Twisted Lip”. Wells sets the scene in the opening paragraph which puts a picture straight into the readers mind and uses descriptions of light and sound to add to the atmosphere “sound of a roaring and rushing grew nearer” (pg1), “There was a glare of light above the cutting” (pg1).


The narrators play an important part in all the story’s in “The Red Room” the narrator is first person and is unnamed , he is a flawed rationalist, he says there will be nothing there that can scare him “that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me” (pg1) but he still is carrying a gun “Then, with my hand in the pocket that held my revolver” This contradiction within the narrator creates an unease and lack of trust with the reader and so creates tension. Wells breaks the narrator down throughout the book to show that fear can affect anyone and on (pg11) the narrator Says “there is no ghost there at all; but worse, far worse” this really scares the reader and builds up the tension, and suspense then he explains “Fear” is the room this is an anti-climax, and the reader can now relax and the atmosphere begins to calm.


In “The Man with the Twisted Lip” the narrator is 1st person and we know who he is, his name is “Watson” (pg5) and he is known worldwide so the reader instantly feels she knows him and this forces the reader to trust him, also Watson is a doctor and people feel they can trust doctors so this adds to the trust. Watson is familiar with the other characters and this relaxes the tension which there would normally be if he was meeting these characters for the first time. Doyle has made Watson into an un-biased character who just reports the situation to whoever he is talking to; this keeps the atmosphere, tension, and suspense low as they know Watson is telling the truth. This is a totally different approach to a narrator compared to the narrator of “The Red Room” which there is little trust at all.


In “The Cone” Wells has used a rd person narrator which is different to the 1st person narrators used in the other two stories and we do not know his name. He used complex wording “ceremonial politeness” (pg5) and this creates a sense of trust with the reader, and like Watson did he reports the story with no opinions given which keeps a relaxed atmosphere when he is explaining.


In “The red room” Wells has used now clich�d characters to build atmosphere, tension, and suspense. The characters in the castle the start of the story are very clich�d in today’s society and so are less scary to today’s readers but to the Victorian readers they would have been very frightening. An example of a clich�d character is “the man with the withered arm” in Victorian times he would have built suspense, tension and a spooky atmosphere but today it does not. The old lady builds tension when she says “this night of all nights!” (pg) which makes it sound like something big will happen this night, also the old characters repeat what they say and this repetition builds a really spooky atmosphere.


In “The Man with the Twisted Lip” Sherlock Holmes is used and he is a famous character throughout the world so there is an instant trust between him and the reader. He is used to solve the mystery, but is very secretive and this ads tension as the reader wants to know what he knows. Also he is very clever, organised and precise which creates a calmer atmosphere when he is around. Neville is an exact opposite to the beggar “I will not have them ashamed” (pg7) also the beggar is not respected “Shock of orange hair” (pg1) where as Neville is, and this contrast builds up atmosphere when these characters are around. There is also an oriental feel added by some of the other characters “Lascar” which is an oriental fisherman plus opium was originally an oriental drug.


In “The Cone” Horrocks is used to ad a scary element he is described as the “ironmaster” which adds a tension when ever he is around as it gives the impression of evil, He is obsessed with his creation of the industrial site “That dreadful theory of yours that machinery is beautiful, and everything else in the world is ugly” (wife pg4) this adds a tense atmosphere when Horrocks is around his machines. When Horrocks first enters he enters from the shadows which are related to evil and this reflects his character. Raut is afraid of Horrocks and feels that he might be killed by him “had Horrocks actually held him back in the way of the train” and this tension between the two characters adds tension and suspense whenever they are together. Horrocks is a very intimidating character and refers to blood, evil, sin and the devil. “it will boil the blood out of you in no time” (pg1) and these referrals to things that are related to evil adds a sense that Horrocks is kind of supernatural which in tern creates tension and suspense around him.


The structure of a story is very important and can add to the tension, suspense and atmosphere. In “The Red Room” There are nine stages of the narrator going to be rational to being frightened and back to ration again these stages are 1.Talking to the old people, .The approach to “The Red Room” .sees the bronze group gets scared “someone crouching” 4.Stairs to “The Red Room” 5.”Sudden twinge of apprehension” remembers where the duke fell. 6. Goes into “the Red Room” begins to become frightened. 7.Candles begin to go out, panic. 8. Panics and gets knocked out .Talks about fear with the old people which echo’s the story of the duke. Also the long sections of dialog distract from the tension and short speech adds to it.


As in “The Red Room” long sections of dialog ease the tension and short speech adds to it. There is action from the outset which gets the reader involved straight away and we are given the background to the characters on pg1. We aren’t given the full explanation of what happened in the story till the end which keeps the reader on the edge trying to think what could have happened this also adds tension as the reader id tense. The entire story is told through speech and conversation which means the reader can stay with the plot all the way through.


In “The Cone” again long description eases off the tension and short snappy sentences and speech add tension. These long complex sections help the reader to understand what is happening. We know what will eventually happen, that Raut will eventually be murdered by Horrocks and this puts the reader on edge as they are waiting to see when it happens which really build a tense atmosphere and major suspense. The short sentences at the end build up suspense to Raut’s murder. Tension is built through out the story using a series of anti-climax’s which keep the reader interested e.g. when Horrocks holds Raut in front of the train then pulls him out of the way.


The language in a story is another element which can add atmosphere, suspense and tension. In “The Red Room” the narrator speaks of fear as an object not a feeling and the story ends with fear which everybody can relate to, the language in the story is sophisticated so that all the characters are viewed the same this keeps an un-biased viewpoint on each character so that the reader can make up there own mind on each character. Repetition is used to really emphasise important parts “Fear” and spooky adjectives are used like “spectre”, “ghost” and “darkness” this gives the story a supernatural feel. There is a biased way of telling the story, the narrator only talks about the supernatural elements and not the normal ones and so the reader feels as if there is something supernatural going on but at the end it is told that it is only “fear”. Imagery or personification is used a lot where human things are used to describe non-human objects “tongue of flame”; Imagery is used a lot in this story through use of metaphors, similes and personification.


The language in “The Man with the Twisted Lip” is very intelligent and sophisticated with an oriental feel to it, and long complex words are used to show that the characters are well educated and so we trust them. Conversation is used to tell the story unlike the others where description is used, and the important parts are repeated to make sure the reader recognizes that it is important. Many questions are asked on pg.0 and where murder is being discussed on pg17 short sentences are used. People’s faces are described a lot and the story is written in a formal Victorian language.


In “the Cone” a lot of imagery is used like in “The Red Room” to aid the reader and to give them a better understanding of what the scene looks like and how it would have made the characters feel “seemed to swallow down train, smoke and sound in one abrupt gulp” (pg1) another example of personification is “The round eye of light in front of it” (pg). There is a lot of long description of the big machines so that the reader can really envisage what it would have looked like and what the atmosphere was like there.


I liked all three stories but my favourite story is “The Cone” by Wells you can really get the feeling of how Raut must of felt when he was walking round the iron works with Horrocks; the descriptions of the machines really add tension suspense and atmosphere to the story better than both of the other stories. I prefer the rd person narrator to the first as you really feel like you are hearing a story and not a diary reading. The way in which the anti-climax’s keeps the reader hooked as well, is another point I like, there is no point in the story where I got bored.


In “The Man with the twisted Lip” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle I liked the contrast between Lee and the East end it really added a good atmosphere by switching between the two and I like the final outcome of the story. Another good point is that you don’t get the full explanation of what has happened till the end but you know that Holmes knows what is happening; this keeps you involved in the story. The thing which I didn’t like in this story was the lack of excitement and suspense there needed to be more.


In “The Red Room” I didn’t like the clich�d characters, I know they would have worked back in the time when it was written but they have been too overused to work today. I like the stages of the narrator going from rational to scared and back to rational I feel this is clear to the reader, and also each reader will be able to pick up on their own nine stages, not everyone will see them the same. Another point I like is the contradiction between the narrator believing he is rational and saying there will be nothing supernatural or scary there but still carrying a gun.








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In A Modest Proposal, Swift vents his mounting aggravation at the ineptitude of Irelands politicians, the hypocrisy of the wealthy, the tyranny of the English, and the squalor and degradation in which he sees so many Irish people living. While A Modest Proposal bemoans the bleak situation of an Ireland almost totally subject to Englands exploitation, it also expresses Swifts utter disgust at the Irish peoples seeming inability to mobilize on their own behalf. Without excusing any party, the essay shows that not only the English but also the Irish themselves--and not only the Irish politicians but also the masses--are responsible for the nations lamentable state. His compassion for the misery of the Irish people is a severe one, and he includes a critique of their incompetence in dealing with their own problems.


Political pamphleteering was a fashionable pastime in Swifts day, which saw vast numbers of tracts and essays advancing political opinions and proposing remedies for Irelands economic and social ills. Swifts tract parodies the style and method of these, and the grim irony of his own solution reveals his personal despair at the failure of all this paper journalism to achieve any actual progress. His piece protests the utter inefficacy of Irish political leadership, and it also attacks the orientation of so many contemporary reformers toward economic utilitarianism. While Swift himself was an astute economic thinker, he often expressed contempt for the application of supposedly scientific management ideas to humanitarian concerns.


The main rhetorical challenge of this bitingly ironic essay is capturing the attention of an audience whose indifference has been well tested. Swift makes his point negatively, stringing together an appalling set of morally untenable positions in order to cast blame and aspersions far and wide. The essay progresses through a series of surprises that first shocks the reader and then causes her to think critically not only about policies, but also about motivations and values.


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Summary


The author invokes the melancholly and all-too-common sight of women and children begging on the streets of Ireland. These mothers, unable to work for their livelihood, are forced to employ all their Time panhandling for food. The children, also for want of work, grow up to be thieves, or else emigrate to fight for the Pretender (the son of James II, who lost the throne of England in the Glorious Revolution of 1688) or to seek their fortunes in the Americas. The author appeals to the general consensus that these beggared children are, in the present deplorable State of the Kingdom, a very great additional Grievance. He supposes that anyone who could devise a way to make these street children into productive members of society would be doing the nation a great service. The authors own Intention, he says, goes even further than providing for these children of Professed Beggars; his proposal includes in its scope all children of a certain Age whose parents, though they have not yet resorted to begging, are too poor to support them.


Having considered Irelands population problem for many years, the author has concluded that the arguments and schemes of others upon the subject are wholly inadequate. They have been, he says, grossly mistaken in their Computation. He offers some calculations of his own a newborn infant can be supported for its first year on breast-milk and two shillings, a sum that can easily be obtained by begging. It is after this relatively undemanding first year, therefore, that Swifts proposal will go into effect. I propose to provide for them in such a Manner, as, instead of being a Charge upon their Parents, or the Parish, or wanting Food and Raiment for the rest of their Lives; they shall, on the contrary, contribute to the Feeding, and partly to the Cloathing, of many Thousands. Another advantage of his proposal, Swift says, is that it will reduce the number of abortions and infanticides. He speculates that most women undertake these highly immoral practices more to avoid the Expence than the Shame of unwanted children.


The author fills out the background to his proposal with additional statistical data. In a national population of 1.5 million, there are probably 00,000 women of childbearing age. Out of these, 0,000 might be supposed to be financially able to maintain their own children. That leaves 170,000 breeders. Of these, perhaps 50,000 will miscarry or lose their children in the first year, leaving 10,000 children born of poor parents each year. The Question therefore is, How this Number shall be reared, and provided for? In the current state of the nation Swift asserts it to be impossible. They cannot be employed in a country that neither build[s] Houses,...nor cultivate[s] Land. Except for the exceptionally gifted, they will not be able to steal for a living until they are at least six years of age, although, I confess, they learn the Rudiments much earlier. A child under the age of twelve is no saleable Commodity, and even when they are old enough to be sold into servitude, children bring no very large price--certainly not enough to offset the costs involved in rearing them to that age.


Commentary


Swifts opening paragraph offers a starkly realistic, although compassionate, portrait of families of beggars in Ireland. The first sentence gives a fairly straightforward and un-ironic description, but by the second sentence the author begins to offer judgments and explanations about this rampant beggary the mothers are unable to work, and have been forced into their current poverty and disgrace. Swifts language here reverses the prevailing sentiment of his day, which held that if beggars were poor, it was their own fault. The reader is unsure at this point whether to take Swifts professed compassion for the beggars as earnest or ironic. The issue never becomes completely clear. In this passage, and in the tract as a whole, he tends not to choose sides; his stance is one of general exasperation with all parties in a complex problem. Swift is generous with his disdain, and his irony works both to censure the poor and to critique the society that enables their poverty. The remark about Irish Catholics who go to Spain to fight for the Pretender offers a good example of the complexity of Swifts judgments he is commenting on a woeful lack of national loyalty among the Irish, and at the same time critiquing a nation that drives its own citizens to mercenary activity. He makes a similar stab at national policies and priorities with the aside that takes for granted that poor Irish children will not find employment, since we neither build Houses,...nor cultivate Land.


The reader is inclined at first to identify with the proposer, in part because Swift has given no reason, at this point, not to. His compassion in the first paragraph, the matter-of-fact tone of the second, his seeming objectivity in weighing other proposals, and his moral outrage at the frequency of abortion and infanticide--these characteristics all speak out in his favor as a potential reformer. Yet the depersonalizing vocabulary with which he embarks on his computations is calculated to give us pause. He describes a newborn child as just drooped from its Dam and identifies women as Breeders. Against this language the word souls (which ought to make sense as a way of talking about hapless human beings) takes on a wry tone when applied to Irelands now strictly statistical population. This language offers an early indication of the way the authors proposal reduces human beings alternately to statistical entities, to economic commodities, and to animals.


It becomes clear fairly quickly that this will be an economic argument, although the proposal will have moral, religious, political, and nationalistic implications. Despite his own moral indignation, when the author suggests that most abortions are occasioned by financial rather than moral considerations, he assumes that peoples motivations are basically materialistic. This is not, of course, Swifts own assumption; he presents a shockingly extreme case of cold-blooded rationality in order to make his readers reexamine their own priorities. Swift parodies the style of the pseudo-scientific proposals for social engineering that were so popular in his day. His piece is partly an attack on the economic utilitarianism that drove so many of these proposals. Although Swift was himself an astute economist, here he draws attention to the incongruity between a ruthless (though impeccably systematic) logic and a complexly human social and political reality. Part of the effect will be to make the reader feel that the argument is bad, without knowing quite where to intervene--to pit moral judgment against other, more rigidly logical kinds of argumentation.


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Summary


The author begins detailing his proposal, saying that he hopes it will not be liable to the least Objection. He offers the information, derived from an American he knows, that a one-year-old child is a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome Food; whether Stewed, Roasted, Baked, or Boiled. Based on this fact, he proposes that the 10,000 Irish children born in a year should be disposed of as follows 0,000 should be kept for breeding and continuance of the population, but only a fourth of these are to be males, in accordance with the practice common among breeders of livestock (one Male will be sufficient to serve four Females); the other 100,000 are to be fattened and then sold as a culinary delicacy. He proceeds to offer suggestions as to the sort of dishes that might be prepared from their meat.


After this quick outline, the author moves on to the specifics of the proposal. First, he discusses the price of the meat. Since a one-year-old baby weighs, on average, only twenty-eight pounds, the flesh will be relatively expensive. These children, therefore, will be marketed primarily to Irelands rich landlords, who, as Swift points out, have already devoured most of the Parents anyway. Second, he speculates that the new foodstuff will be in season year-round--with perhaps a particular surge in the springtime. The cost of nursing a Beggars Child to marketable age is shillings a year. The cost of the meat will be ten shillings, and the profits of the sale will be mutual the mother will make eight shillings, and the landlord who buys the child will not only have four Dishes of excellent nutritive Meat, but will also enjoy an increase in his own popularity among his tenants. In times of need, the skin could also be used for leather. The author does not doubt that there will be plenty of people in Dublin willing to conduct these transactions and to butcher the meat.


He then tells of a friends proposed Refinement on my Scheme, which was that, in light of the shortage of deer on the estates of Irelands wealthy Gentlemen, teenage boys and girls might be butchered as an alternative to venison--especially since so many of these young people are already starving and unable to find employment. Swift, however, resists this idea, protesting that their Flesh was generally tough and lean...and their Taste disagreeable. He also speculates that some scrupulous people might be apt to censure such a practice (although indeed very unjustly) as a little bordering upon Cruelty. The author follows this up with an anecdote about the natives of Formosa and their cannibalistic practices. He then acknowledges a general concern about the vast number of elderly, sick, and handicapped among the poor, who are no more able to find work than the children. Having been asked to consider how the country could be relieved of that burden, Swift declares himself unworried--these people are dying off fast enough anyway.


Commentary


The irony of Swifts piece turns on the assumption that his audience, regardless of their national or religious affiliations or their socioeconomic status, will all agree to the fact that eating children is morally reprehensible. The reader registers a shock at this point in the proposal and recognizes that a literal reading of Swifts pamphlet will not do. Swift is clearly not suggesting that the people of Ireland actually eat their children, and so the task becomes one of identifying his actual argument. This involves separating the persona of the proposer from Swift himself. The former is clearly a caricature; his values are deplorable, but despite his cold rationality and his self-righteousness, he is not morally indifferent. Rather, he seems to have a single, glaring blind spot regarding the reprehensible act of eating children, but he is perfectly ready to make judgments about the incidental moral benefits and consequences of his proposal. The proposer himself is not the main target of Swifts angry satire, though he becomes the vehicle for some biting parodies on methods of social thought.


The proposal draws attention to the self-degradation of the nation as a whole by illustrating it in shockingly literal ways. The idea of fattening up a starving population in order to feed the rich casts a grim judgment on the nature of social relations in Ireland. The language that likens people to livestock becomes even more prevalent in this part of the proposal. The breeding metaphor underscores the economic pragmatism that underlies the idea. It also works to frame a critique of the domestic values in Irish Catholic families, who regard marriage and family with so little sanctity that they effectively make breeding animals of themselves. Swift draws on the long-standing perception among the English and the Anglo-Irish ruling classes of the Irish as a barbaric people. Swift neither confirms nor negates this assumption altogether. He indicts the Irish Catholics for the extent to which they dehumanize themselves through their baseness and lack of self-respect. He also, however, admonishes those who would accuse the poor for their inhumane lack of compassion. And, he critiques the barbarism of a mode of social thought that takes economic profitability as its sole standard.


With the introduction of the idea of cannibalism, a number of associated insinuations come into play. Swift cultivates an analogy between eating people and other ways in which people, or a nation, can be devoured. The British oppression amounts to a kind of voracious consumption of all things Irish--humans devouring humans in a cannibalism of injustice and inhumanity. But Irelands complicity in its own oppression translates the guilt of cannibalism to a narrower national scale; this is not just humans being cruel to other humans, but a nation consuming itself and its own resources. Swifts aside about the fact that wealthy Irish landlords have already devoured most of the poor parents voices a protest against their exploitation of the peasants.


One of Swifts techniques is to let abstract ideas resonate in multiple ways. The word profit, for example, refers at various points to economics, morality, and personal indulgence. When Swift looks at who stands to profit from the sale of infant flesh, he includes not only the family that earns the eight shillings, but also the landowner who will earn a certain social status by serving such a delicacy, and the nation that will obtain relief from some of its most pressing problems. In this way, Swift keeps reminding his reader of the different value systems that bear on Irelands social and political problems.


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Summary


I have too long digressed, says Swift, and so he continues to enumerate the advantages of his proposal. It will reduce the number of Papists (Catholics), who form the majority of the poor population and who tend to have large families. He identifies the Catholics as the enemies of the nation--or of its wealthy Anglo contingent--accusing Irish Catholics of subversive political activity, while contrasting them with the many Protestants who have left the country rather than be forced to pay Tithes against their Conscience.


The proposal also means that poor tenants, once their children become a valuable commodity, will be better able to pay off their debts to their landlords. The arrangement will be good for the national economy, turning what had been a liability into part of the national product--not to mention the added national benefit of a new dish. In addition, the parents of these now-marketable children will reap a profit beyond just the eight-shilling sale price, since they will be relieved of the expense of caring for the children after the first year. The new food will undoubtedly improve business in taverns. The proposal will have the moral benefits of encouraging marriage and increasing mothers love for their children. It will also likely spur a healthy competition among parents as to who can bring the fattest Child to the Market, as well as reducing domestic violence, at least during the time of pregnancy, for fear of a Miscarriage. An indirect consequence of eating childrens flesh will be an increase in exportation of beef, and well as a rising standard for other meats, which are in no way comparable in Taste, or Magnificence, to a well-grown fat yearling Child. Swift speculates that one fifth of the carcasses will be consumed in London, and the rest elsewhere in Ireland.


Commentary


The author identifies himself as a member of the Anglo-Irish ruling class, who were predominantly Anglican. His picture of embattled Anglicans forced to leave the country is an ironic one, however. Swift is denouncing the practice of absenteeism among Irish landlords, who often governed their estates from abroad, thus funneling all the fruits of Irish peasant labor out of the Irish economy and into the English coffers. The proposers allegiance is to the interests of the wealthy, and it is at the upper classes that Swift aims his sharpest barbs. Swifts contempt for the irresponsibility, greed, and moral indifference of the wealthy is matched only by his disgust at the utter failure of Irelands political leaders. Swift begins moving away from the faux-economics of child-breeding in order to hone in on the realities of Irelands economic crisis. Many of the arguments the proposer advances here have to do with the very real problem of building a viable Irish national economy. Swift reveals that his objection is not so much with the basic mercantilist idea that the people are the most valuable resources of a nation, but rather with Irelands failure to value that resource in any meaningful and nationally constructive way.


Swift also elaborates on his critique of domestic mores among the Irish poor. The fact that they need an economic inducement to marry, to love their children and spouses, and to refrain from domestic violence are obvious strikes against them--although probably against the bigotry of the proposer as well since, for Swift, there are multiple sides to every story.


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Summary


The author now anticipates an objection to his proposal--that it will too drastically reduce the national population. He admits this, reminding the reader that such a reduction was in fact one of the goals. The proposal, he emphasizes, is calculated specifically with respect to Ireland and its circumstances, and is not meant to be applicable to other kingdoms. He offers a catalogue of the various remedies others have suggested taxing absentee landowners, buying only domestically-manufactured goods, rejecting foreign luxury, reforming the morality of Irish women, instilling Parsimony, Prudence, and Temperance in the people, as well as a healthy patriotism, abandoning factionalism and internal strife, refusing to sell our Country and Consciences for nothing, encouraging landlords to treat their tenants justly, and enforcing honest practice among merchants. The author disdains these measures as naive and unrealistic. He tells of his own weariness after years of struggling with such impracticable ideas, and his final relief and excitement at hitting upon his current proposal, which hath something solid and real, of no Expence, and little Trouble, and which will not run the risk of angering England. It will have nothing to do with England, in fact, since the flesh of human infants is too delicate to withstand exportation. He hints that there might be a country that would be eager to eat up our whole Nation, even without preservatives.





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Aborting Fetuses


Nowadays, many young people use drugs because they are pressured by their friends. Others use drugs because they think it is fun and cool. Couples who use fertility drugs should have the option of aborting fetuses. Because pregnant mothers take risks while using drugs, couples that are addicted are not really capable of taking care of their babies and many of the babies suffer and have different effects.


First, pregnant mothers take risks while using drugs. Many mothers think it is easy to take any kind of medication while pregnant. What they don’t know is that they have to go through different doctors to take any kind of medication. Some mothers are not responsible for their babies and themselves. They take different kinds of drugs, such as, marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, etc. One of my friends just had a baby, and she was dating a guy that was using drugs before her pregnancy. When she was having her baby, all of the check ups were good. They told her that it was a healthy baby. After two months, the little baby girl was born. The baby got sick, and they had to take her to the hospital because her lungs were not working. She stayed in the hospital for two weeks. The doctors told the mom that in the future the baby was going to have problems breathing because of the drugs that the father had been using before. Many couples think it is not important to take care of their babies but it is not true. They have to give their lives for them. That is why the mothers have to be really careful when using medication or any kind of drug that is assigned by the doctor.


Second, couples that are addicted are not really capable of taking care of their babies. Many couples just want to keep themselves happy, and they forget about their babies. In the streets one sees people walking asking for money they use the phrase, My friend, I haven’t eaten, can I have a quarter or some change?” Almost all of the people are not saying the truth. Many just want to have some change to waste in alcohol and drugs. Many of them are mothers that are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I come across a lady that was walking by my house she was about thirty years old she asked me for money and I asked her what she needed the money for. She was very honest and told me “I need to by some kind of drug to calm down the pain that I have because I am pregnant. She didn’t have a choice because the hospitals were too expensive and she could not afford it. I took her to the hospital and she thanked me. There are many ways women can get help from other people while pregnant. The only thing they have to do is ask.





Last, many of the babies suffer and have different effects. The parents are not concerned of the problems that they can cause the babies. If a parent takes drugs the babies can be deformed when they are born. In a TV show called Real TV, there are many cases of parents that have taken drugs while pregnant. Some of the babies become addicted to the drug that the mother is taking; the babies need the drugs after they are born. The babies might have a disability after they are born because of the parents, addiction to drug. It is better for many babies not to suffer in life. The mother must have the decision to whether to abort or not to abort their babies. Because the mother is going to have the regrets after her baby is born.


In conclusion, couples who use fertility drugs should have the option of aborting fetuses; the pregnant mother take risks while using drugs; couples that are addicted are not really capable of taking care of their babies; and many of the babies suffer and have different effects. This is a hard decision to make because it is a life in someone’s hands. Most of the times is better for the babies and their mother.





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