Top Girls Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Why do you think the author includes a character like Isabella in the play?

Isabella mirrors Marlene in several ways. Isabella travels a great deal, and Marlene wishes she could travel more. Isabella, like Marlene, has a sister she differs from. Both Marlene and Isabella lead independent lives, while their sisters are stuck at home. Isabella's presence foreshadows later scenes including Marlene and her own sister.

2. What genre might be used to describe the play during Act 1? Explain why.

The first act of the play is, essentially, a fantasy. It could be considered historical fiction if only one of the women were featured in this act. Bringing all these women together from different time periods is not realistically possible, especially in the case of Pope Joan, as she is a fictional character. People often fantasize about whom, from history, they might like to have dinner with. This act can be considered a fulfillment of Marlene's fantasy to share a meal with some of history's strongest female figures, both celebrated ones and ones conceived of from a more artistic or culturally representative nature.

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