The book by Catherine Churchill titled ‘Cloud Nine’ provides insight into the two very different types of societies in the two acts of the book and depicts the change in the characters in terms of their femininity and sexual orientation. The diverse factors impacting the lives of the characteristics like power, wealth and politics as well as their ion satisfactions levels in different relationships have been discussed through the use of comedy and the art of storytelling.
The book highlights the concepts of feminism and queer theory through its content and the way the lives of the characters play out in the two different acts of the book. Feminism is basically defined as the change or orientation towards women empowerment. It is made up of the social, cultural as well as the political reforms, movements and diverse theories which contribute towards equality between makes and females and highlights the equal rights movement for the women. The basis of feminism is the exhalation of the position of women in the society.
Queer Theory on the other hand is a branch of gender studies which pertains to the gay and lesbian studies. This field is specific to diverse sexual orientation in women and takes its foundation form the feminism movement and theory itself. The inclination towards feminism in the book and the play of Cloud Nine is very explicit as depicts how the women are oppressed in the Victorian era so much so that they are forced to disguise themselves as men to hide their feminine identity when giving in to their strong nature and ambitions.
The play clearly and explicitly describes the differences in the roles of the women and the men in the Victorian era, and in the modern era, therefore depicting how they have changed to an extent, but not as much as they should have. in the first act the play violently depicts the male oriented society by initiating with a welcome for the male gender, and present the allude of power, in context of economics as held by men in the society. Aside from this the play also depicts the position of the women in history as the subservient gender.
This established the concept that the role and cultural construction of the females in the society is a product more of history and tradition than of their own capabilities, thus reinforcing the concept of feminism. The queer theory is expanded upon by the author in the play though the confused sexual orientation of the characters and the cross dressing and role reversal amongst the cast in the play. “Churchill clearly intended to raise questions of gender, sexual orientation, and race as ideological issues; she accomplished this largely by cross-dressing and role-doubling the actors, thereby alienating them from the characters they play.
” (Worthen, 807). The characters in the play like those of Gerry the homosexual man and the lesbian mother provide the essence of the queer theory. In fact it can even be mentioned that Cloud Nine is an explicitly queer play. The structure of the play is very confusing for the audience as well as the readers due to the role reversals by the characters, and the language used in the play is highly oriented towards the depiction of feminism and queer theory.
The play clearly points out the underlying issues in the societies pertaining to women oppression, women’s rights as well as gay pride and sexual orientation of the men and women. Moreover the play is highly political in nature as it tends to shock the audience and the readers through the presentation and the roles played by the characters. On the whole however the play contributes towards the literary identity development of women in the modern society.
References Barry, P. , ‘Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory (Beginnings)’, Manchester University Press, (2002) , ISBN-10: 0719062683 Caslin, S. , ‘Feminism and post-colonialism’, accessed March 15, 2008 from <http://www. qub. ac. uk/schools/SchoolofEnglish/imperial/key-concepts/feminism-and-postcolonialism. htm> Churchill, C. , ‘Cloud Nine’, Nick Hern Books, (1989), ISBN-10: 1854590901 Marx, K. , ‘The Communist Manifesto: Complete with Seven Rarely’, Filiquarian Publishing, (2005), ISBN 1599869950 Worthen, W. B. , ‘The Wadsworth Anthology of Drama’, Heinle, (2003), ISBN-10: 0838407501