May 25, 2024
Ghiasuddin Alizadeh

Ghiasuddin Alizadeh

Academic rank: Assistant Professor
Education: Ph.D in English Literature
Faculty: Literature and Human Sciences


Possible Worlds in Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine and Top Girls: A Cognitive Poetic Reading
Type Thesis
Caryl Churchill, Cognitive Poetics; Narratology; Marie-Laure Ryan, Possible Worlds Theory; Socialist Feminism.
Researchers Omid Amani، Ghiasuddin Alizadeh


The present thesis is an attempt to explore Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine (1979) and Top Girls (1982) through the lens of the Possible Worlds theory as one of the orientations in cognitive poetics and narratology. Churchill's work is characterized by her steadfast commitment to socialist and socialist feminist politics. By virtue of her nonconventional and experimental theatrical forms, she addresses her concerns about the detrimental impact of global capitalism. This research draws on Marie-Laure Ryan's theoretical framework where she posits that readers are actively involved in creating reference worlds that enable meaningful engagement with a text. This engagement can be done through accessibility relations and minimal departure to know to what extent the textual actual world (TAW)is different from the actual world (AW). Likewise, Ryan’s theorization is geared towards the character's personal and virtual worlds, juxtaposed with their AW. Within the context of a literary work, each character may possess their own set of potential alternate worlds (APW). In this vein, in Churchill’s Top Girls narrative revolves around the story of a career woman, Marlene, who achieves success in as a high-powered executive, all the while struggling with familial and societal expectations. The play paints a vivid portrait of contemporary Britain shedding light on the plight of working-class women. Also, her Cloud Nine explores themes of gender and sexuality by depicting an alternate reality in which traditional norms are defied and characters venture into different relationships and identities. Through deploying this approach, the present research would offer a fresh insight on Churchill’s drama and postmodern feminist theatre.