Course Hero. "Cloud 9 Study Guide." Course Hero. 19 Jan. 2017. Web. 29 May 2023. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Cloud-9/>.
Course Hero. (2017, January 19). Cloud 9 Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Cloud-9/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "Cloud 9 Study Guide." January 19, 2017. Accessed May 29, 2023. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Cloud-9/.
Course Hero, "Cloud 9 Study Guide," January 19, 2017, accessed May 29, 2023, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Cloud-9/.
Martin, Edward, and Cathy are in the park one day in late summer. Edward is updating Martin about Cathy's and Tommy's needs, as it is Martin's night to care for them. Betty enters, exhausted from her new job as a receptionist at a doctor's office. She praises Martin for being so patient with Victoria, whom she thinks is intruding on a relationship between Edward and Lin. They hear the bells of the ice cream truck, and Betty, Martin, and Cathy exit, leaving Edward alone. As in other scenes of the play, characters have brief conversations, then exit the stage to be replaced by another pair or group.
The final scene of Cloud 9 is all about acceptance and new beginnings. It includes the last "revolving door" exchange in which characters enter, hold brief dialogues, then exit in order to reveal the characters' true identities and feelings. Victoria has finally moved in with Edward and Lin, and they, with Martin, are trying to figure out how this new arrangement will work. Though this is fine with the siblings and Lin, Martin is having a difficult time accepting his role as an equal. He doesn't want Edward and Lin to tell him what to do—he's married to Victoria, not to them. And he doesn't want to watch Cathy even though Lin is open to caring for both Cathy and Tommy. While everyone else in his life has found peace with the new situation, he is still somewhat stunned by the transformation of his traditional nuclear family into an extended cohort of adults sharing responsibility for one another's children. For all his talk about feminism and openness to sexual exploration, Martin remains attached to the conventional definition of family as a husband, wife, and biological child.
One of the messages of the play is about accepting others for who they are. This isn't always easy: for years Betty has purposefully chosen to ignore Edward's sexuality despite him directly telling her he is gay, and she is hesitant to acknowledge the relationship among Edward, Lin, and Victoria. Though her children's lifestyles don't conform to the gender roles she was raised with, they seem "perfectly happy." The same can't be said for Ellen and Harry, who were pushed into a marriage they didn't want, nor Maud, who taught Betty "young women are never happy." Unlike her own mother, Betty doesn't mind her children's break with traditional lifestyles and values; their happiness is more important than how their lives appear to others. This is a lesson Victoria is still learning, as she has a hard time separating Betty the person from Betty the mother.
This is something Betty struggles with, too. For so many years she viewed herself solely through the lens of her role as Clive's wife. Now she is trying to figure out who she is, and it's not without some trepidation. In her monologue about masturbation Betty tells the audience she cried during her first orgasm because she felt she had disappointed Clive and Maud, both of whom shunned the notion of women enjoying sex. The realization she is a separate person from her mother and ex-husband is frightening at first, because without them Betty doesn't know who she is. The longer she spends time on her own, however, the more she learns what she likes. Orgasms are no longer shameful, but rather pleasurable acts of rebellion and independence. So is Betty's conversation with Gerry. She tries to "pick him up" before she realizes he's gay, something she never would have done prior to her self-awakening for fear she was being too forward or too unladylike. When Clive appears on stage to tell her she's "not that sort of woman," his admonishments fall on deaf ears. Betty no longer feels the need to seek the love and approval of anyone else but herself, which she literally does when her Act 1 counterpart comes onstage. Their hug represents Betty's acceptance of her past self as well as who she is in the present.