How Far Do You Agree with the View ‘That Women Do Not Possess Innate Maternal Desires’? Compare and Contrast the Presentation of Motherhood in Top Girls with Atwood’s Presentation of Motherhood in the Handmaid’s Tale

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How far do you agree with the view ‘that women do not possess innate maternal desires’? Compare and contrast the presentation of motherhood in Top Girls with Atwood’s presentation of motherhood in The Handmaid’s Tale

It could be argued that women possess innate maternal desires, however some would argue that women are socialised by their environment to be maternal. Churchill’s feminist play ‘Top Girls’ explores the idea of natural maternal instincts through characters such as Joyce and historical figures Lady Nijo and Patient Griselda. ‘Top Girls’ is set during Thatcher’s government and explores the role of motherhood, with an all female cast Churchill uses theatre of alienation and characterisation to constantly keep the audience aware that the play is not realistic, this technique is done purposely so the audience focus less on the plot and more on the political and social issues. Similar to the play, feminist author Atwood explores ideas of motherhood and how women treat each other within society through her cautionary tale; The Handmaid’s Tale, the fictive autobiographic novel presents characters such as Offred, Ofwarren and Serena Joy who all share problems with maternal identity.

Most of the women presented in the texts have a desire to be a mother yet the societies they live within prevent them from successfully realising this desire. Top Girls is set in 1979 at the end of the decade and the beginning of Thatcher’s tenure. Marlene is representative of all of Thatcher’s values of individualism and competition to the point that in the BBC 1991 adaptation the director even had her wearing blue the symbol of conservatism. But it is upholding these values that creates problems for Marlene. For Marlene to be successful she has to give up her child or be ‘stuck’ like Joyce and yet she does not seem to be happy with this decision. She uses the verbs ‘took’,…...

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