Arcadia V. Top Girls Time Term Paper

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These 'girls' are openly and immediately obvious as famous successful women from various times of human history and places through the past 1200 years. In their interactions with the characters of the present, women such as Pope Joan and Lady Nijo teach the contemporary family featured in the play about the various implications their lives hold for contemporary women. The education is not covert as in "Arcadia," but overtly didactic and feminist in nature.

Although it moves as two rather than one linear narratives, however, Stoppard's tale of past and present parallels still has a narrative force. One of the most interesting ways in which Stoppard deploys time in his play to move the narrative forward, is when, for example, the academic Bernard advances the theory that Lord Byron was a murderer. The viewer first realizes this is unlikely by observing the past, and later the present day academic Hannah Jarvis realizes that this is not the case by discovering evidence in the house after Bernard has left to give his erroneous lecture. And even while Stoppard's past and present only interact in a tangential fashion, certain emotional as well as plot parallels occur as well -- Septimus flatters his employer, even though he gave a bad review to Mr. Chater's first poem, and Hannah's book on the Romantic lady Caroline Lamb was panned by Bernard, even though he flirts with her. Also, the mathematical queries provoked by Thomasina further destabilize the viewer's intellectual certainty of what is past and present.
Girls" is more visceral than intellectual in its feminist conviction that the past and present are interlinked. Quite early on, the ideological parallels between the characters of different times become clear. For instance, Lady Nijo and Pope Joan seem represent two completely different ways for early medieval woman to achieved power. Nijo was a famous Chinese courtesan and Joan repressed her sexuality to become Pop. But both had to deny the full range of their desires to succeed, much like less attractive and successful women like the patient Griselda.

The reason that Churchill uses more conventional narrative techniques than Stoppard may be that her play is more openly ideological than "Arcadia" -- she wishes to make her message clear that women have always striven to enjoy political and social dominance, but have had to make tremendous sacrifices to do so. Stoppard's play is academic and speculative, much like his characters, in its agenda. His play speaks to the abstract uncertainties humans have about nature of memory and time, rather than strives to advance a particular ideology. However, by gently suggesting the futility of knowing time and human history only through literary words alone or science and math alone, as do both sets of his characters in their various historical ways, the playwright less stridently suggests the need to understand both realms of human experience in the 'time' of words and the time of physics, to be truly a completely educated and feeling….....

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