Course Hero. "Cloud 9 Study Guide." Course Hero. 19 Jan. 2017. Web. 14 May 2021. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Cloud-9/>.
Course Hero. (2017, January 19). Cloud 9 Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 14, 2021, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Cloud-9/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "Cloud 9 Study Guide." January 19, 2017. Accessed May 14, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Cloud-9/.
Course Hero, "Cloud 9 Study Guide," January 19, 2017, accessed May 14, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Cloud-9/.
Betty's line in the introductory song positions her as having one purpose: being the perfect woman. In the Victorian era that meant deferring to her husband in all things, taking care of the children and the home, and ignoring all her personal desires. Note that Betty says what men want is what she wants to be. Playing the perfect wife and mother is something she has yet to master.
Maud tells Betty she can't expect Harry to spend much time visiting at the house because, as a man, his duties differ from those of the women. During the Victorian era, men and women lived in two different spheres: women took care of the household while men handled everything else. This line of thinking is also why Maud seems to be the least concerned of all the women about the tribal unrest. She trusts the men to handle it as part of their "duties."
Clive is upset when Mrs. Saunders refuses to have sex with him a second time. He thinks she owes it to him for giving her a place to stay when her own home was no longer safe. Clive views himself, not Mrs. Saunders, as the victim. His happiness always comes before that of others.
Clive makes fun of Edward for not being able to catch the ball, which Betty says will hurt Edward's feelings. Clive's response is indicative of how he thinks men should be divorced from all emotion. Feelings are for women, and actions are for men.
Maud is of the belief women need protection from men. As a single woman, Mrs. Saunders is forced to fend for herself. That doesn't seem to bother her, but Maud finds it completely improper. This warning means to dissuade Betty from pursuing a relationship with Harry: if Clive finds out, he could easily leave her and arrange it so she can't marry again. She, and possibly her children, would no longer be under the protection of a man.
This comparison shows exactly how much Betty dislikes the bondage of motherhood. She does not tell Ellen having children is a gift or a joy, but rather that it is like war: unpleasant and unavoidable. Just like the soldier who doesn't want to go to war, the woman who doesn't want to have children has no say in the matter. Her mind is made up for her by the rules of Victorian society.
Don't hit him, Cathy, kill him. Point the gun, kiou, kiou, kiou. That's the way.
Lin is a very different mother from Maud and Betty, as is evidenced by her active encouragement of Cathy to engage in stereotypical male activities, like playing with imaginary guns. Lin doesn't just permit this type of play; she tells her how to do it better. She wants her daughter to be seen as an equal to the boys on the playground.
Despite her progressive ideals and academic perspective on masculinity and feminism, Victoria is apprehensive about violating the commonly accepted code of conduct for married couples. She is torn between doing the right thing and pursuing something she truly desires.
Betty says she doesn't care for women, even as friends, which confuses Lin, who points out Betty is a woman herself. Betty's response is emblematic of the low public regard for women prior to the surge of second-wave feminism in the 1960s. Betty had been trained to think all women, including herself, were of less value than men. She is a product of her culture, just as Lin's personal self-esteem is a product of hers.
Victoria nags Lin to be more consistent in her views of gender roles, but gender isn't simply academic for Lin—it's part of everyday life. She isn't going to stop mentioning men completely just because she believes in feminism. She's doing the best she can to get by and often feels like she can't live up to Victoria's high standards.
Gerry breaks up with Edward because he feels Edward is putting on an act with his feminine-leaning pastimes and opinions. Edward's behavior reminds him too much of marriage, which is exactly what he's trying to avoid.
Victoria approaches gender and sexuality from an academic standpoint. Unlike Lin, she thinks everything should be viewed through the lens of feminine history and gender psychology. While Lin strives for equality for herself and her daughter, Victoria wants to discover and attack the root of gendered oppression.
Of all the play's characters, Betty goes through the greatest transformation during the play. Her monologue in Act 2, Scene 4 isn't just about masturbation—it's her realization that she does not need a man to justify her existence. She is learning to accept herself as a person, not just as a conductor of someone else's happiness.