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Aug 31, 2017

Social & Historical Context for "Top Girls"

British Society in the Early Eighties:
How did society change for men and women from the 60s – 70s?
What were the social changes that affected women’s lives?
Many women entered the work force because they had to, financially and the 60s saw a surge in the employment of women. Many women chose to work, arguably because they felt less pressure to stay at home as the traditional role of wives, across races, began to change. People stopped endorsing the belief that women’s working was detrimental to their children and marriages and the father’s role in a child’s upbringing also began to gain importance.
 As the rate of unemployment went up, so did the rate of divorce.
The incidences of divorce in the United States more than doubled between 1970 and 1980, reaching more than one million divorces a year on some occasions. The rate of divorce also changed because the laws were changed, meaning a divorce didn’t have to be someone’s “fault”.
 “The sense of community began to flail behind that of individualism”
In the United States Mother only families made up 9% of all
families in 1960.
Where as in 1987 it was 20%
50% of all mother-only families in 1987 lived in poverty
These changes in the 60s affected the future parents of the 80s, with children raised in mother-only families more likely to drop out of secondary school, form single-parent families themselves, and live in poverty as adults, and so the cycle continues!
 After divorce in the 60s-80s, and often is still the case, women experience a marked drop in income, because they become /became their children’s primary carer, whereas males do not and often, even experience a pay increase.
  Life for men/fathers changed too. In 1988 50% of divorcee fathers had no contact with their children.
  From the 60s – 80s the childcare industry more than doubled.
  Abortion was legalised in 1967 in the UK. The limit was 28 weeks.
Today the limit on abortion is 24 weeks and an abortion can be given on the NHS, but waiting lists are long.
  Margaret Amy Pyke was a founding member of the British National Birth Control Committee (NBCC), later known as the Family Planning Association (FPA) and in 1963 she claimed there were 300 abortions a day, therefore 109,500 in the year (this was when it was illegal).
  In 2003 there were 181,600 abortions according to the Department of Health
  There is generally very little stigma assosciated with abortion these days, unlike in the 60s and 70s.
  Today abortion is often linked with  teenage pregnancy by the press, but around two thirds of abortions are those of women in their 30s, a lot of whom already have children but cannot afford/ do not want another child. – Rather than it being women who have children out of wedlock like in the 60s or women who chose their career over children like in the 80s – and Top Girls.
 How had the class structure changed by the early 80’s?
The early 80’s saw huge changes in class structure, as for several reasons the poor, lower classes became poorer, and the wealthier upper classes became even wealthier.
 One reason for which the lower classes became poorer was the mine strikes. The NCB or national coal board had plans to shut down many of the coal mines  in this country, they had in the 12 months before the 1984 strikes already closed 23 pits resulting in the loss of 21,000 miners jobs, and they planned to close even more in the five years after which would mean that 100,000 out of 184,000 miners jobs would be lost. The actions of the NCB resulted in a miners strike between 1984 and 1985 as families that already were struggling to stay afloat would be even further into poverty due to the loss of jobs.One in ten miners that had protested were arrested.
 The unemployment in Britain doubled to over three million between 1979 and 1983 which hit the working class hard.
 The characters in Top girls mostly fall into the working class, however characters such as Isabella Bird would be in the upper class.
60s
The Swinging Sixties saw the re-kindling of female radicalism. In the United States , Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique and founded the National Organisation of Women. In Britain , a burgeoning women’s liberation movement met for the first time. This was the decade that saw the first sales of the contraceptive pill and a law that legalised abortion.
In 1965 Jean Shrimpton appeared in a mini skirt at the Melbourne Races and Twiggy set a new style for body and hair. Valentina Tereschkova became the first woman in space and in Ceylon Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the world’s first woman Prime Minister, with Indira Ghandi and Golda Meir following soon after.
Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars, Dorothy Hodgkin won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry and The Women’s Football Association was founded, with 44 clubs.
In 1965, Barbara Castle was appointed Minister of Transport, becoming the first female Minister of State. In this capacity, she oversaw the introduction of seat belts and the ‘breathalyser’. Then, as Secretary of State for Employment, she paved the way for equal pay after being inspired by the women machinists at Fords of Dagenham who went out on strike for an equal wage in 1968.
 1961    The contraceptive pill goes on sale for the first time in the UK.
1965    Barbara Castle  (1910-2002) is appointed Minister of Transport, becoming the first female Secretary of State.
1967    Under the new Abortion Law, abortion in Britain under medical supervision is made legal within certain criteria.
1968    850 women machinists at Fords of Dagenham go on strike for equal pay. This paves the way for the Equal Pay act two years later.
1969    Six days before her 22nd birthday, Bernadette Devlin becomes the youngest ever member of the British parliament. 
1969    The Representation of the People Act extends the vote to all men and women over the age of 18 years.
70s
This was the decade of feminism. Landmark books like Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch and Kate Millet’s Sexual Politics sold in their millions. Magazines like Ms and Spare Rib increasingly found their way into women’s homes and the feminist publishers Virago was launched. Nawal El Saadawi published her controversial Women and Sex, the first book to challenge the position of women in Arab society.
In 1975 several key pieces of legislation were passed. The Sex Discrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate against women in education, recruitment and advertising. The Employment Protection Act introduced statutory maternity provision and made it illegal to sack a woman because she was pregnant. The Equal Pay Act finally took effect, though it failed to encompass equal pay for work of equal value.
Self-help became a by-word as the decade progressed with women increasingly taking control of their lives with women’s refuges and rape crisis centres providing a sanctuary for women who faced violence.
On a lighter note, Annie Nightingale became Britain ‘s first woman DJ, breaking the all-male code at Radio 1; Jackie Smith flew with the Red Devils and Mary Peters triumphed in the Pentathlon at the 1972 Olympic Games. In 1978, Louise Brown made international headlines, as the first test-tube baby in the world. The decade closed with Margaret Thatcher being swept to power as Britain ‘s first woman Prime Minister. 
1970: The Equal Pay Act enshrines in law the principal of equal pay for women.
1971" On 6 March over 4000 women take part in the first women’s liberation march in London.
1972: Five formerly all-male colleges at Oxford University open their doors to women.
1972: Rosie Boycott and Marsha Rowe launch Spare Rib, Britain’s first feminist magazine.
1974: Contraception becomes free to women in the UK more on birth control.
1974: The Women’s Aid Federation is set up to bring together refuges for battered women that have been springing up throughout Britain. more on domestic violence
1975; Several key pieces of legislation are passed:  The Sex Discrimination Act, which came into force on 29 December 1975. This makes it illegal to discriminate against women in education, recruitment and advertising; the Employment Protection Act introduces statutory maternity provision and makes it illegal to sack a woman because she is pregnant; the Equal Pay Act takes effect.
1975: Margaret Thatcher  (born 1925) is elected leader of the Conservative Party.
1976: The Equal Opportunities Commission comes into effect to oversee the Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts.
1976: The Domestic Violence Act enables women to obtain a court order against their violent husband or partner.
1977: The first Rape Crisis Centre opens in London.
1979: On 4 May Margaret Thatcher is elected Britain’s first woman Prime Minister.
80s: The early 1980s saw a proliferation of women-only organisations. This was the decade of power woman with her shoulder pads and high ambitions.
Amendments to the Equal Pay Act and the Sex Discrimination Act established the principal of equal pay for work of equal value and allowed women to retire at the same age as men. Yet at the same time, many women began to question whether there was a “glass ceiling” as they failed to reach the top jobs in their companies and organisations.
Margaret Thatcher, quickly gained the nickname “The Iron Lady” and in 1982 showed her resolve by taking Britain into the Falklands War. Election wins in 1983 and 1987 made her one of the few prime ministers to win three successive terms. 1987 was also the year that Diane Abbot became Britain ‘s first black woman MP.
In November 1982 more than 20,000 women surrounded the Greenham Common American airbase in a protest known as “embrace the base”. They were protesting against the installation of US cruise missiles. The designer Katherine Hamnett made her own personal protest by wearing an anti-cruise missile T shirt to a meeting with Mrs T.
Jane Glover conducted at Covent Garden, Helen Chadwick was short-listed for the Turner and Kim Cotton became the country’s first surrogate mum.
1980: The 300 Group is founded by Lesley Abdela to push for equal representation of women in the House of Commons.
1982: Caryl Churchill’s feminist play Top Girls is first performed at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
1983: Corpus Christi College, Cambridge admits women for the first time in its 630 year history.
1983: Dr Sally Ride becomes the first American woman astronaut in space on board the space shuttle Challenger.
1983: Lady Mary Donaldson becomes the first woman Lord Mayor of London.
1984: Liechtenstein give votes to women, the last country in Europe to do so.
1984: The Equal Pay Act (Equal Value Amendment) introduces equal pay for work of equal value.
1985: Kim Cotton became Britain ‘s first surrogate mother.
1986: The Sex Discrimination Act (Amendment) enables women to retire at the same age as men. It also lifts the legal restrictions which prevent women from working night shifts in factories.
1987: Diane Abbot is Britain’s first black woman MP.
00s: As the new century got underway women continued to make their mark. Olympic runner Kelly Holmes won two gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games and Ellen MacArthur became the fastest person to sail round the world solo.  Caroline Hamilton and Ann Daniels reached the North Pole making them the first all-female team to trek to both poles.
Clara Furse  became the first female chief executive of the two-hundred-year-old London Stock  Exchange, and in politics Margaret  Beckett was the first woman to be appointed as Foreign Secretary. 
Adoption laws were updated to allow unmarried and same-sex couples to adopt children together for the first time. The Pensions White Paper looked at better and fairer financial provision for women in later life, and the first gay couple got ‘married’ as the Civil Partnership Act gave same sex couples similar legal rights to married couples.
2002: Sheila Macdonald is the first woman to become an executor of a UK high street bank, the Co-operative.
2003: The Sexual Offences Act (2003) provides new legislation against abuse by people who work with children, and updates the laws of sexual abuse within families.
2003: JK Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter books, became the world’s best paid author.
2004: Kelly Holmes becomes the first British 800 metre runner to win an Olympic title since 1980 and the first woman since 1964. She is also the first British runner to win two gold medals since the 1920 Olympics.
2005: Ellen MacArthur becomes the fastest person to sail single-handed around the world and at 28 years old, the youngest person to receive a damehood.
2005: Under the biggest overhaul of adoption laws in 30 years, unmarried and same-sex couples can now adopt children together for the first time more on adoption 
2005: The Civil Partnership Act (2004) brings same sex-couples similar legal rights to married couples. Two women, Shannon Sickles and Grainne Close became the first British gay couple to exchange vows at Belfast City Hall, and England’s first gay couple tie the knot in Brighton 
2006: Margaret Beckett is appointed Foreign Secretary, becoming the first woman to hold the post.

Capitalism
What is Capitalism? 
Capitalism is a system of free enterprise. This means that the government doesn’t interfere in the economy and every earns their own money. This system was put into power by Margaret Thatcher in the early 80s.
 Margaret Thatcher privatised many big state-owned industries such as British Gas and BT. She also became less dependent on fuel from mining and so because of the capitalists aims of making money rather than investing in the people’s needs, the people working in the mines became redundant and as a consequence, thousands of people lost their jobs.
 Capitalism refers to the money you make. There are far more private companies and self-employed people rather than state-owned businesses in a capitalist society. If you work hard, you earn more money and therefore become richer.
What is Socialism?
This is more or less opposite of capitalism. It focuses on the care of the individuals in society as opposed to focussing attentions on the money and profits. Socialism is the idea that the government should be in charge of the economic planning and distribution of money throughout society. Money in a socialist society is shared equally among the people. Therefore there are no real social classes of wealthy and poor people. Many businesses and companies are state-owned and are run by the government 
Which system is better? 
Socialism is probably the most moral system as everyone has an equal chance in life. Under socialism everyone can have some sort of job. Even if they do not want it at least it is there. Capitalism has many advantages too. The government has limited control over businesses which allows them to compete; people can pursue careers which have always dreamt of starting although this is automatically means that the poorer people can’t start their own business if they haven’t the money to begin with and it allows people to choose what they do with their money.
Links to characters in Top Girls.
Marlene: Marlene was more of a capitalist than a socialist. She was encouraged by capitalism in Thatcher’s reign and worked hard for her own money and lifestyle. Capitalism suited Marlene as she made her money by hard work. She is richer than her sister due to the system. On the other hand it has had a negative effect on her as she had to give up her child to peruse her career.
Joyce: Joyce came under the socialism sector as capitalism was only interested in the profits and not the people, and so she had to have 4 jobs in order to look after Angie. Many feminists were socialists as, because of capitalism, companies would be more inclined to hire men rather than women in the work place as men would not have to take months off work in order to have a baby. The same goes for people of a young age looking to marry and settle down.
Angie: Angie would probably not have received a good education under the capitalist system as her family couldn’t pay for a private education. This would results in her not being able to get a really high flying job as she wouldn’t have had the qualifications needed. If socialism was in place then she may have had more of an equal opportunity to succeed in getting the job she wanted.
The Women’s Liberation Movement in Britain (1960s-1970s)
 What goals had been achieved and what had not?
Women had gained the right to vote in the early 1900s, but there was still inequality in many areas.
What had women to be freed from?
Being stuck at home, not having many opportunities to go out and work. They either had to be career women or family women.
Towards what direction did the women’s liberation movement move at this point?
They were looking for equality at the workplace, and also campaigned for free contraception, abortion, and 24-hr nurseries
What was economic independence and why was it so important for women?
Economic independence is not having to depend on anyone else’s income. It was important for women because if they had it, they would have a lot more freedom to do what they want. Back then, if a couple separated, the woman would get nothing because she had come to depend on her husband’s income. Pensions were also biased towards men.
What would women do with their newly found freedom?
Women would be able to work on the same level as men and not have to be stuck at home being a housewife. They would have a lot more opportunities applying for jobs. Not only did the movement gain several vital legal concessions, they also managed to change basic attitudes in society.
What exactly did women need to be freed from in 1982?
Women needed to be freed from the patriarchal society, where men had all the top jobs.
The Women’s Liberation Movement was the force behind the feminist push for equality. Without it, women may not have been in the position we are in today.
The movement was successful in giving more privileged women a choice in life, but it is debatable as to whether women who aren’t as fortunate have that, even today.

Due to pressure from the Women’s Liberation Movement the government passed the following acts:
Equal Pay Act 1970 – equal wages for men and women
Women’s Aid Federation 1974 – provided support for women suffering from domestic violence
Sex Discrimination Act 1975 – outlawed discrimination in the workplace
Domestic Violence Act 1976 – helped women with violent partners

Feminism
The main goal of feminism is complete equality of men and women, including all social, economic and political aspects.
More specific goals include ;
  • The elimination of gender based stereotypes
  • The elimination of “lookism”
  • An end to workplace discrimination
  • Equality in hiring, promotion, treatment of employees and equal treatment in all aspects of the business world.
These all are included in some way or another in “Top Girls”.
“Gender based stereotypes” – In Act 1,Caryl Churchill fights gender based stereotypes by containing characters like Isabella (the unconventional woman who has no children, marries late and spends her life travelling) , Marlene (the career woman), and Joan (someone who fights against the female stereotype by learning). However, Caryl Churchill also presents us with characters that conform to stereotypes. Joan (it is stereotypically the man who is educated, and Joan, in effect, becomes a man rather than fighting the stereotype), Nijo (a woman who lives entirely by how a man defines her) and Griselda (a woman who centres her entire life on her marriage). By containing all these characters, Churchill is making the reader question these stereotypes, one of the goals of feminism.
 “The Elimination of “lookism”” – The scenario Caryl Churchill presents us with regarding Louise is an example of “lookism”; she has been passed over several times for a job because others may dress more feminine, more professionally or more modern. Caryl Churchill here is raising the question “can you be feminine in the workplace” and is therefore questioning one of the goals of feminism. This goal also ties in with both Isabella and Joan in the first act. Isabella freely travels as a woman “and strongly disputed anything otherwise.” where as Joan feels the need to become a man. Again, Caryl Churchill raises questions to the reader about whether “lookism” can ever really be diminished completely.
 “Equality in hiring, promotion and treatment of employees” – This is another situation where Caryl Churchill presents circumstances which both support and contradict a feminist goal. By Churchill choosing to promote Marlene over Howard, she could be trying to support this goal, however the introduction of Mrs Kidd, Howard’s wife could be showing that not everyone agrees with feminism.
Feminist Role Models within “Top Girls”:  In Act 3, the audience is presented with two different female role models; Marlene and Joyce. Marlene could be seen as a feminist role model – fighting against her female stereotype, and fighting for equality in the workplace where as Joyce is exactly the opposite, giving into her female stereotype of “mother”. During the scene, Marlene is often portrayed negatively – does this mean that Caryl Churchill disagrees with feminism?
Feminist Writers / Famous Feminists
  • Simone de Beauvoir
  • Betty Friedan – “The Feminist Mystique”
  • Germaine Greer
  • Virginia Woolf
History of Feminism
Split up into 2 (sometimes 3) “waves”
First-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist activity during the nineteenth century and early twentieth century in the United Kingdom and the United States. It focused primarily on gaining the right of women’s suffrage. In Britain, the Suffragettes campaigned for the women’s vote, which was eventually granted − to some women in 1918 and to all in 1928 − as much because of the part played by British women during the First World War, as of the efforts of the Suffragettes.
Second-wave feminism dealt with inequalities of laws and cultural inequalities. There was a large following of feminism in the 60’s. The 1980’s was a “crisis point” for feminism – focus was shifted onto academic issues, such as studying and having a career, which meant a decline in political feminism, such as passing equality laws. In the 1980’s, a woman named Gloria Watkins began to criticize the lack of unity within the feminist movement, and throughout the early 80’s especially, feminism was attacked.
Second-wave feminism often runs into third-wave, which is simply trying to continue feminist theories, and trying to fix any problems that arose during the second-wave. Third-wave feminism also tries to challenge the criticisms that arose during the 80’s.
FEMINISM: Most feminist historians say that all movements that work to overturn gender inequality and obtain women’s rights should be considered feminist movements.
Feminism includes, in the broad sense of the word, men and women acting, speaking and writing on women’s actions and rights and identifying social injustice in the status quo.
First Wave Feminism (Before 1982):
Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century.
Focused mainly on absolute rights, especially the gaining of women’s right to vote. The right to vote was eventually granted to some women in 1918 and to all in 1928.
Suffrage was one of the most fundamental struggles of women; not having the right to vote clearly marked them as second-class citizens.
In the Edwardian era, women’s rights were dominated by increasing clamour for political reform and votes for women. Emmeline Pankhurst said that women’s votes were seen no longer “a right, but a desperate necessity.”
The protests got gradually more vigorous, leading to arson in 1914.
A member of the suffragettes, Emily Davison, also sacrificed herself under the king’s horse on Derby day.
Earlier campaigns -> Married Women’s Property Act 1882
Campaign to repeal The Contagious Diseases Act of 1864, 1866 and 1869, which was labelled as a misuse of police power.
In 1800, women had little control over their lot in life. Higher education was off-limits.

The Second Great Awakening, which started in 1790, emphasized emotional experience over dogma, allowing women more leadership opportunities outside of the home
After the passage of the 19th Amendment, the National American Woman Suffrage Association, spearheaded by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was disbanded. The League of Women Voters and National Women’s Party took its place. But three years after women won the vote, suffragist and feminist factions split over Alice Paul’s introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to Congress. The proposed amendment, which read, “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex,” alienated some women who feared that its passage would undermine legal protection granted to women and children.
From that point in the early 1920s until the 1960s, feminism seemed to stall. But that didn’t mean that subtle changes had stopped taking place. For instance, during World War II, more women than ever joined the workforce, assuming industrial and military jobs previously reserved for men. Higher education had become a more viable option as well, and the number of female college graduates was rising. Then, when the troops came home, American women’s culture experienced a return to domesticity. Many women continued to work outside the home, but career options were restrictive with gender-specific job postings. Women had won the vote but not cultural independence
Late 1960s – new activism ushered in by student activity surrounding the war and civil rights movement and older women’s dissatisfaction with domestic restrictions and workplace discrimination.
In contrast to first-wave feminism, the movement during the 1970s benefitted from the involvement of far more organizations, encompassing a broad spectrum of political beliefs and ideologies.
Defining texts of this generation of Feminism
The Female Eunuch
Written by Germaine Greer and first published in 1970, The Female Eunuch became an international bestseller and a prominent text in the Feminist movement, part of the second feminist wave. The book is a feminist analysis, written with a mixture of polemic and scholarly research.
When it was first published, it created a “shock-wave” of recognition in women that could be felt around the world, emphasising that sexual liberation is the key to women’s liberation. Greer looks at the inherent and unalterable biological differences between men and women as well as at the profound psychological differences that result from social conditioning.
(http://www.powells.com)(www.wikipedia.org)
The Second Sex
The Second Sex is one of the best-known works of the French existentialist Simone de Beauvoir. It is a work on the treatment of women throughout history and often regarded as a major work of feminist literature. She weaves together history, philosophy, economics, biology, and a host of other disciplines to show women’s place in the world and to postulate on the power of sexuality.
“One day, I wanted to explain myself to myself… and it struck me with sort of surprise that the first thing I had to say was ‘I am a woman.’”- Simone de Beauvoir
The first wave fought and gained the right for women to vote. The second wave struggled to obtain the right for women to have access and equal opportunity to the workforce, as well as ending of legal sex discrimination.

MARGARET THATCHER – THE ULTIMATE TOP GIRL
Why was Thatcher the archetypal Top Girl?
Thatcher’s father, a Methodist who was active in local politics, ran a grocery shop and she grew up in a flat. By earning scholarships, she got in to a Grammar School and then Oxford university. After university, she became the youngest ever female Conservative candidate in Dartford and climbed the political ranks until she became Prime Minister in 1979.
Thatcher didn’t have natural academic brilliance or a privileged background. Instead she was ambitious and worked very hard and was completely dedicated to the goals she set herself. Young and without experience and female, she started out as an underdog and throughout her political career worked doubly hard to prove that she was equal to her colleagues, until at last, being Prime Minister, she was better than them. She was, literally, the Top Girls
Thatcher especially seemed to feel pressured to compensate for her gender. She was unwavering in her views and notoriously ruthless to those she saw as opposing her, as famously illustrated in the miners’ strike. She was bossy and authoritarian in her leadership of the Cabinet, dominating the male MPs. Behaving with so little regard for others’ feelings or opinions is generally unusual for women. Similarly, her aggressive embracing of Capitalism and the interests of the individual were more akin to male independence then female social mindedness. Thatcher definitely denied her gender; further, she could be seen as pretending to be male.
How did her leadership affect the lives of British women?
Because the Labour Party’s support was based on the extremely men dominated unions, at the time, the Conservative Party were actually ahead with women’s issues.
Thatcher didn’t campaign for women’s issues in any way, but her acts against the unions helped to dismantle the model of men working full time and women not working at all. Also, her promotion of entrepreneurship over manual labour helped to get women into the workplace because the concerns of their generally lower physical strength and their entering into a macho culture were less pronounced in this sector.
What kind of role model did she provide for British women?
Thatcher provided a template of a woman who made it in a man’s world by being more ‘masculine’ than the men with whom she was in competition. She is often described as the pioneer of ‘power dressing’. She took great care in her appearance and used it to express her values. She almost always wore suits with shoulder pads, usually made from blue material that was made in Britain. The suit gave her a sharper, more masculine silhouette; blue was the colour of the Conservatives; and the origin symbolises her nationalistic tendencies. This, along with her behaviour, implied to women that appearing ‘strong’ ie masculine was one of the most central values and essential for anyone who wanted to get to the top.
Margaret Thatcher was marred to businessman Denis Thatcher, and they had twins, a boy, Mark, and a girl, Carol. Interestingly, although Mark was less intelligent and renowned for his playboy lifestyle, Thatcher has always seemed to favour him over Carol. However, for Thatcher, her career always came before her family.
Thatcher had a sister, Muriel, 4 years older than her. Whereas Margaret was closer to her father, Muriel was closer to her mother, who ‘didn’t like the limelight’. Her husband was originally going out with Margaret. After she married, she gave up her job. You can see how this inspired the relationship between Marlene and Joyce.
Margaret Thatcher was presented by the media as a fascist tyrant, masculine and aggressive.
Thatcher’s father, a Methodist who was active in local politics, ran a grocery shop and she grew up in a flat. By earning scholarships, she got in to a Grammar School and then Oxford university. After university, she became the younger ever female Conservative candidate in Dartford, and climbed the political ranks until she became Prime Minister in 1979.
In Top Girls, Marlene comes from a humble background – her father ‘worked in the fields like an animal’ (p84)
Thatcher was clever but not naturally brilliant, or from a privileged background. Instead she was ambitious and worked very hard, and was completely dedicated to the goals she set herself. Young, modestly off, without experience and female, she started out as an underdog and throughout her political career worked doubly hard to prove that she was equal to her colleagues, until at last, being Prime Minister, she was, ostensibly, better than them. She was, literally, the Top Girl.
Similarly, Marlene is clever and driven by her ambition to work hard and climb the career ladder, e.g., she’s ‘appointed managing director instead of Howard’ (p58)
Thatcher especially seemed to feel pressured to compensate for her gender. She was unwavering in her views and notoriously ruthless to those she saw as opposing her, as famously illustrated in the miners’ strike. She was bossy and authoritarian in her leadership of the Cabinet, dominating the (male) MPs. Behaving with so little regard for others’ feelings or opinions is generally unusual for women. Similarly, her aggressive embracing of capitalism and the interests of the individual were more akin to male independence than female social-mindedness. Thatcher definitely denied her gender; further, she could be seen as pretending to be male.
            As well as the extreme example of Pope Joan, Win, Nell and Marlene display traits usually associated with men. Win and Nell take pride in lack of emotion, talking dispassionately about male collegues (‘[your heart’s] tender like old boots’ p47) and relationships/marriage (‘playing house’ p48).
            Marlene especially seems to distance herself from her femininity. She has ‘more balls than Howard’ (p46); she’s a ‘ballbreaker’ (p59). She abandons Angie and family life so she can pursue her career: she ‘doesn’t want to talk about gynacology’ (p81).
How did her leadership affect the lives of British women?
Because the Labour Party’s support was based on the extremely men-dominated unions, at the time, the Conservative Party were actually ahead with women’s issues.
Thatcher did not campaign for women’s issues in any way, but her acts against the unions helped to dismantle the model of men working full-time and women not working at all. Also, her promotion of entrepreneurship over manual labour helped to get women into the workplace because the concerns of their generally lower physical strength and their entering into a macho culture were less pronounced in this sector.
What kind of role model did she provide for British women?
Thatcher provided a template of a woman who made it in a man’s world by being more ‘masculine’ than the men with whom she was in competition.
She is often descried as the pioneer of ‘power dressing’. She took great care in her appearance and used it to express her values. She almost always wore suits with shoulder pads. The suit gave her a sharper, more masculine silhouette.  This, along with her behaviour, implied to women that appearing ‘strong’ (that is, masculine) was one of her most central values, and essential for anyone who wanted to get to the top.
Marlene feels that Thatcher is a leading light who demonstrated what a woman can be. She admires her and feels a sense of camaraderie with her. (‘She’s a tough lady, Maggie. I’d give her a job’ p84)
Thatcher dismissed things like poverty and claimed that they were the problems of individuals, not society. In this way she suggested that sensible women should, like men, take care of themselves first rather than the needs of those around them.
If Marlene represents a woman who has tried to follow Thatcher’s example, Joyce represents one who is skeptical of the model of womanhood that Thatcher stands for.
‘[The working class] doesn’t exist any more’ (p85)
‘[Angie’s] stupid, lazy and frightened. What about her?’ (p86)
Churchill is making the audience question Thatcher’s values and what they will mean for women and for society.

“What Britain needs is an Iron Lady””
How did her leadership affect the lives of ordinary British Women?
  1. A supporter of Gender equality. Although Thatcher didn’t campaign for women’s issues in any way, she felt very passionate about sexual discrimination and complained often.
  2. The Equal Pay Act as we know it may have been passed under her tenure (in 1984), but it was an amendment of the original 1970 act.
  3. Through her acts against the unions she helped to dismantle the model of men working full time and women not working at all.
  4. Her promotion of entrepreneurship over manual labour helped to get women into the workplace because the concerns of their generally lower physical strength and their entering into a macho culture were less pronounced in this sector. 
  5. She expanded other women’s horizons and did much to break down bigotry about women’s work she was able to generate a greater awareness than any previous Prime Minister for gender equality and social justice
How was her leadership characterised at the time?
  • The system of political thought or leadership in which she and her government possessed has been characterised as “Thatcherism”. It involves less state intervention and more marked economy, the privatisation of state owned industries, lower direct taxes with higher indirect taxes that put poorer families at a disadvantage.
  • Thatcherism is the “distinctive ideology, political style and programme of polices of the British Conservative Party after Margaret Thatcher was elected leader in 1975”.

Was Thatcher seen as the end result in the advance in feminism?
  • Thatcher was by no means the end result in the advance in feminism because she sparked a lot of other women to be independent and powerful.
  • Women after and during Thatcher’s stint of prime minister were seen taking risks such as wearing trousers and going for more typically male jobs, such as becoming business women etc.
What kind of a model did she provide for British women?
  • Margaret Thatcher was also known as ‘The iron lady’.
  • She was a strong, independent woman and therefore taught many other women to follow her lead.
  • She represented power, ambition and ruthlessness; many aspired to be just like her. 
Equal Opportunities Legislation
The Equal Pay Act
Equal treatment, in respect of pay, terms of contract and employment, must be given to men and women doing the same or broadly similar work.
A man and woman working for the same employer should receive the same pay and be subject to the same contractual terms if:
  • they are doing similar work; or
  • there has been a job evaluation scheme and the specified work has been rated as equivalent; or
  • they are doing work of equal value;
Unless the employer can prove that the variation in pay is genuinely due to a material factor which is not the difference in sex.
The Sex Discrimination Act
This Act requires that employers do not discriminate, either directly or indirectly, between men and women, or married and unmarried people, in recruitment or in any other way in their treatment of employees.
The Sex Discrimination Act (amendment) also:
  • Granted individuals the right to employment tribunals, which, if successful could result in them receiving compensation.
  • Established the Equal Opportunities Commission to help enforce the legislation, promote equal opportunities and provide information and advice.
  • Enabled women to retire at the same age as men.
  • Lifted the legal restrictions which prevented women from working night shifts in factories.
However…
  • Despite the legislation, throughout the 1980s and up until today, women are still paid significantly less than men for the same work.
  • Women still only earn 80% of average full-time male hourly earnings, while the adult male average income is almost twice that of women.
Women’s Careers in the 1980s
  • In the mid 1980s, the phrase “glass ceiling” was coined and has since become an established part of our vocabulary. The glass ceiling refers to an invisible but impermeable barrier that limits the career advancement of women.
  • Employers were, and still are, reluctant to employ women due to the assumption that single women are subject to harassment and security issues; married women have a husband and family to cope with and those with children present even further obstacles to successful mobility and career development.
  • Women’s jobs mainly included typists and secretaries.
  • During the last two decades, women have made progress: there are now more women in senior-level executive jobs, more female CEOs, and more women on corporate boards of directors.
  • However, real progress has been slow with only small increases.
Legislation alone, it seems, was unable to bridge the gap between men and women in the work place. Employers still saw women as inadequate and unreliable due to family responsibilities, which inhibited their career progress and for this reason, women were still not treated equally to their male colleagues.

Aug 18, 2017

Novels: Opening


1. Call me Ishmael. —Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)

2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

3. A screaming comes across the sky. —Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)

4. Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. —Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967; trans. Gregory Rabassa)

5. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. —Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)

6. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. —Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)

7. riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. —James Joyce,Finnegans Wake (1939)

8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

9. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

10. I am an invisible man. —Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

11. The Miss Lonelyhearts of the New York Post-Dispatch (Are you in trouble?—Do-you-need-advice?—Write-to-Miss-Lonelyhearts-and-she-will-help-you) sat at his desk and stared at a piece of white cardboard. —Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts (1933)

12. You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter. —Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn(1885)

13. Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested. —Franz Kafka, The Trial (1925; trans. Breon Mitchell)

14. You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler. —Italo Calvino, If on a winter’s night a traveler (1979; trans. William Weaver)

15. The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett, Murphy(1938)

16. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. —J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

17. Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo. —James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)

18. This is the saddest story I have ever heard. —Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier(1915)

19. I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly considered how much depended upon what they were then doing;—that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;—and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost:—Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,—I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that, in which the reader is likely to see me. —Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy (1759–1767)

.20. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. —Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850)

21. Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. —James Joyce, Ulysses (1922)

22. It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. —Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

23. One summer afternoon Mrs. Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue to find that she, Oedipa, had been named executor, or she supposed executrix, of the estate of one Pierce Inverarity, a California real estate mogul who had once lost two million dollars in his spare time but still had assets numerous and tangled enough to make the job of sorting it all out more than honorary. —Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (1966)

24. It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not. —Paul Auster, City of Glass (1985)

25. Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting. —William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)

26. 124 was spiteful. —Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)

27. Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing. —Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605; trans. Edith Grossman)

28. Mother died today. —Albert Camus, The Stranger (1942; trans. Stuart Gilbert)

29. Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu. —Ha Jin, Waiting (1999)

30. The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. —William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)

31. I am a sick man . . . I am a spiteful man. —Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground (1864; trans. Michael R. Katz)

32. Where now? Who now? When now? —Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable (1953; trans. Patrick Bowles)

33. Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. “Stop!” cried the groaning old man at last, “Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree.” —Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans (1925)

34. In a sense, I am Jacob Horner. —John Barth, The End of the Road (1958)

35. It was like so, but wasn’t. —Richard Powers, Galatea 2.2 (1995)

36. —Money . . . in a voice that rustled. —William Gaddis, J R (1975)

37. Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. —Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (1925)

38. All this happened, more or less. —Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

39. They shoot the white girl first. —Toni Morrison, Paradise (1998)

40. For a long time, I went to bed early. —Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way (1913; trans. LydiaDavis)

41. The moment one learns English, complications set in. —Felipe Alfau, Chromos (1990)

42. Dr. Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature. —Anita Brookner, The Debut (1981)

43. I was the shadow of the waxwing slain / By the false azure in the windowpane; —Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire (1962)

44. Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. —Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

45. I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story. —Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome (1911)

46. Ages ago, Alex, Allen and Alva arrived at Antibes, and Alva allowing all, allowing anyone, against Alex’s admonition, against Allen’s angry assertion: another African amusement . . . anyhow, as all argued, an awesome African army assembled and arduously advanced against an African anthill, assiduously annihilating ant after ant, and afterward, Alex astonishingly accuses Albert as also accepting Africa’s antipodal ant annexation.  —Walter Abish, Alphabetical Africa (1974)

47. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. —C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

48. He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. —Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea (1952)

49. It was the day my grandmother exploded. —Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road (1992)

50. I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974. —Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex (2002)

51. Elmer Gantry was drunk. —Sinclair Lewis, Elmer Gantry (1927)

52. We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall. —Louise Erdrich, Tracks (1988)

53. It was a pleasure to burn. —Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

54. A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead. —Graham Greene, The End of the Affair(1951)

55. Having placed in my mouth sufficient bread for three minutes’ chewing, I withdrew my powers of sensual perception and retired into the privacy of my mind, my eyes and face assuming a vacant and preoccupied expression. —Flann O’Brien, At Swim-Two-Birds (1939)

56. I was born in the Year 1632, in the City of York, of a good Family, tho’ not of that Country, my Father being a Foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull; He got a good Estate by Merchandise, and leaving off his Trade, lived afterward at York, from whence he had married my Mother, whose Relations were named Robinson, a very good Family in that Country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but by the usual Corruption of Words in England, we are now called, nay we call our selves, and write our Name Crusoe, and so my Companions always call’d me. —Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719)

57. In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street. —David Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress (1988)

58. Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. — George Eliot, Middlemarch (1872)

59. It was love at first sight. —Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961)

60. What if this young woman, who writes such bad poems, in competition with her husband, whose poems are equally bad, should stretch her remarkably long and well-made legs out before you, so that her skirt slips up to the tops of her stockings? —Gilbert Sorrentino, Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things (1971)

61. I have never begun a novel with more misgiving. —W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge (1944)

62. Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person. —Anne Tyler, Back When We Were Grownups (2001)

63. The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children’s games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. —G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904)

64. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. —F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)

65. You better not never tell nobody but God. —Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982)

66. “To be born again,” sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, “first you have to die.” —Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses (1988)

67. It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York. —Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1963)

68. Most really pretty girls have pretty ugly feet, and so does Mindy Metalman, Lenore notices, all of a sudden. —David Foster Wallace, The Broom of the System (1987)

69. If I am out of my mind, it’s all right with me, thought Moses Herzog. —Saul Bellow, Herzog (1964)

70. Francis Marion Tarwater’s uncle had been dead for only half a day when the boy got too drunk to finish digging his grave and a Negro named Buford Munson, who had come to get a jug filled, had to finish it and drag the body from the breakfast table where it was still sitting and bury it in a decent and Christian way, with the sign of its Saviour at the head of the grave and enough dirt on top to keep the dogs from digging it up. —Flannery O’Connor, The Violent Bear it Away (1960)

71. Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there’s a peephole in the door, and my keeper’s eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me. —GŸnter Grass, The Tin Drum (1959; trans. Ralph Manheim)

72. When Dick Gibson was a little boy he was not Dick Gibson. —Stanley Elkin, The Dick Gibson Show (1971)

73. Hiram Clegg, together with his wife Emma and four friends of the faith from Randolph Junction, were summoned by the Spirit and Mrs. Clara Collins, widow of the beloved Nazarene preacher Ely Collins, to West Condon on the weekend of the eighteenth and nineteenth of April, there to await the End of the World. —Robert Coover, The Origin of the Brunists (1966)

74. She waited, Kate Croy, for her father to come in, but he kept her unconscionably, and there were moments at which she showed herself, in the glass over the mantel, a face positively pale with the irritation that had brought her to the point of going away without sight of him. —Henry James, The Wings of the Dove (1902)

75. In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. —Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (1929)

76. “Take my camel, dear,” said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass. —Rose Macaulay, The Towers of Trebizond (1956)

77. He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull.  —Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim (1900)

78. The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.  —L. P. Hartley, The Go-Between (1953)

79. On my naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the Bundel Downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor I aint looking to see none agen. —Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker (1980)

80. Justice?—You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law. —William Gaddis, A Frolic of His Own (1994)

81. Vaughan died yesterday in his last car-crash. —J. G. Ballard, Crash (1973)

82. I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. —Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle (1948)

83. “When your mama was the geek, my dreamlets,” Papa would say, “she made the nipping off of noggins such a crystal mystery that the hens themselves yearned toward her, waltzing around her, hypnotized with longing.” —Katherine Dunn, Geek Love (1983)

84. In the last years of the Seventeenth Century there was to be found among the fops and fools of the London coffee-houses one rangy, gangling flitch called Ebenezer Cooke, more ambitious than talented, and yet more talented than prudent, who, like his friends-in-folly, all of whom were supposed to be educating at Oxford or Cambridge, had found the sound of Mother English more fun to game with than her sense to labor over, and so rather than applying himself to the pains of scholarship, had learned the knack of versifying, and ground out quires of couplets after the fashion of the day, afroth with Joves and Jupiters, aclang with jarring rhymes, and string-taut with similes stretched to the snapping-point. —John Barth, The Sot-Weed Factor (1960)

85. When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.  —James Crumley, The Last Good Kiss (1978)

86. It was just noon that Sunday morning when the sheriff reached the jail with Lucas Beauchamp though the whole town (the whole county too for that matter) had known since the night before that Lucas had killed a white man. —William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust(1948)

87. I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as “Claudius the Idiot,” or “That Claudius,” or “Claudius the Stammerer,” or “Clau-Clau-Claudius” or at best as “Poor Uncle Claudius,” am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the “golden predicament” from which I have never since become disentangled. —Robert Graves, I, Claudius (1934)

88. Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I’ve come to learn, is women. —Charles Johnson, Middle Passage (1990) 

89. I am an American, Chicago born—Chicago, that somber city—and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent. —Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March (1953)

90. The towers of Zenith aspired above the morning mist; austere towers of steel and cement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and delicate as silver rods. —Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt (1922)

91. I will tell you in a few words who I am: lover of the hummingbird that darts to the flower beyond the rotted sill where my feet are propped; lover of bright needlepoint and the bright stitching fingers of humorless old ladies bent to their sweet and infamous designs; lover of parasols made from the same puffy stuff as a young girl’s underdrawers; still lover of that small naval boat which somehow survived the distressing years of my life between her decks or in her pilothouse; and also lover of poor dear black Sonny, my mess boy, fellow victim and confidant, and of my wife and child. But most of all, lover of my harmless and sanguine self. —John Hawkes, Second Skin (1964)

92. He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. —Raphael Sabatini, Scaramouche (1921)

93. Psychics can see the color of time it’s blue. —Ronald Sukenick, Blown Away (1986)

94. In the town, there were two mutes and they were always together. —Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940)

95. Once upon a time two or three weeks ago, a rather stubborn and determined middle-aged man decided to record for posterity, exactly as it happened, word by word and step by step, the story of another man for indeed what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal, a somewhat paranoiac fellow unmarried, unattached, and quite irresponsible, who had decided to lock himself in a room a furnished room with a private bath, cooking facilities, a bed, a table, and at least one chair, in New York City, for a year 365 days to be precise, to write the story of another person—a shy young man about of 19 years old—who, after the war the Second World War, had come to America the land of opportunities from France under the sponsorship of his uncle—a journalist, fluent in five languages—who himself had come to America from Europe Poland it seems, though this was not clearly established sometime during the war after a series of rather gruesome adventures, and who, at the end of the war, wrote to the father his cousin by marriage of the young man whom he considered as a nephew, curious to know if he the father and his family had survived the German occupation, and indeed was deeply saddened to learn, in a letter from the young man—a long and touching letter written in English, not by the young man, however, who did not know a damn word of English, but by a good friend of his who had studied English in school—that his parents both his father and mother and his two sisters one older and the other younger than he had been deported they were Jewish to a German concentration camp Auschwitz probably and never returned, no doubt having been exterminated deliberately X * X * X * X, and that, therefore, the young man who was now an orphan, a displaced person, who, during the war, had managed to escape deportation by working very hard on a farm in Southern France, would be happy and grateful to be given the opportunity to come to America that great country he had heard so much about and yet knew so little about to start a new life, possibly go to school, learn a trade, and become a good, loyal citizen. —Raymond Federman, Double or Nothing (1971)

96. Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space. —Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye (1988)

97. He—for there could be no doubt of his sex, though the fashion of the time did something to disguise it—was in the act of slicing at the head of a Moor which swung from the rafters. —Virginia Woolf, Orlando (1928)

98. High, high above the North Pole, on the first day of 1969, two professors of English Literature approached each other at a combined velocity of 1200 miles per hour. —David Lodge, Changing Places (1975)

99. They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did. —Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

100. The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting. —Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (1895) 

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