Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Marlene, the thirty-three-year-old, recently promoted managing director of the Top Girls Employment Agency. A working-class woman who left behind her illegitimate daughter, she has achieved success in the business world by being as tough, ruthless, and aggressive as any man. Politically conservative and emotionally cold, she represents women who have “made it” by incorporating patriarchal standards of success and who are contemptuous of those who have selected more traditional paths. She left her industrial hometown and chose sales as a career because she believed she would be judged on her performance. Later, she settled into a career with Top Girls as a placement counselor, using her knowledge of the business world to help other women get a start. She is sympathetic to the agency’s applicants and expects them to share her ambition and sense of individualism.
Joyce, Marlene’s older sister and acting mother to Angie. She works as a cleaning woman. She stayed home to care for her parents and her husband, as well as Angie, after Marlene left home for London. Politically liberal, with a hatred for the wealthy people who employ her, she rejects Marlene’s money, pity, and contempt and accepts without regret the choices she has made.
Angie, Marlene’s slow-witted seventeen-year-old daughter. Driven by a murderous hatred of Joyce, she suspects that Marlene is her...
(The entire section is 683 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Top Girls Characters. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Angie is the sixteen-year-old adopted daughter of Joyce. Angie is the biological daughter of Marlene, but was given up by her birth mother, who was only seventeen at the time and had career ambitions. In act 1 of Top Girls, Angie realizes that Marlene is her mother, though she has not been told directly. Both Marlene and Joyce do not think highly of Angie and believe her future is limited. She has already left high school with no qualifications. She was in remedial classes, and her best friend is Kit, who is four years younger. Angie is frustrated and wants to murder her mother. Instead, she runs away to visit her aunt in London and hopes to live with her. Previously, Angie tricked Marlene into visiting her and Joyce. Angie is Marlene's embarrassment, but she is also one of the things that links her to the women at the dinner party.
Isabella is one of Marlene's dinner party guests in act 1, scene 1. She is a Scottish woman who lived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and who traveled extensively later in life. In Top Girls, Isabella is the first to arrive at the party and dominates the conversation in a self-absorbed manner. She talks on and on about her travels; her complex relationship with her sister, Hennie; her clergyman father, and husband; her illnesses; religion; and her lack of children. While Isabella does listen and respond to the others, she...
(The entire section is 1790 words.)