|FULLY read all the scenes below and then use the MEG worksheet to highlight 2 social issues within each scene. Most of the words can be found using Google but any that you are unable to find the meaning to, please ask.
Buckled – An agreement made by a man and a woman that they are a couple but cannot afford a church marriage
Brig – Bridge
Kirk – Church
Hidlings – cover (so as not to be seen)
Kirn – Dance
Handfasted – An agreement made before you married but more serious than buckled, you had decided to live together as man and wife and would be trying for a baby
Sark – A wedding shirt
Peewees – A small woodland bird
Why is Maggie commenting on Marjie Brockie and Jamie Moodie?
Maggie is a woman of tradition and sticking to social conventions so is outraged that people choose to become partners without being married in church. Religion was also a very important social issue in the 1800’s and particularly in the farming industry.
Why does Sara argue back to Maggie?
She understands why youngsters chose to run to Coldstream as it cost much less than getting a church wedding. She did not get married but was handfasted. She explains that couples would only go to church when they knew they were expecting a baby.
What else is discovered in Scene 8?
That Bondagers usually had to move every year but usually still in the same area. Liza’s character contrasts to the other women when she announces ‘I could go to Canada’.
Convention: ‘Buckled up at Coldstream Brig? Ca’ that a
Religion: ‘The minister wouldn’t say so’
Marriage: ‘Ca’ that a wedding?’
Working Conditions: ‘But you don’t bide still you flit every year’
Stereotypes: ‘You have to bring them to account’
Role of Women: ‘And who’s left holding the bairn?’
Challenging Convention: ‘I could go to Canada’
This scene is to highlight the relationship between the women, we will look further at GENDER ISSUES that are raised before exam.
The women are discussing the Bondage system and the unfairness of it, however, their low status is shown as they do not understand what ‘lost time’ means. We gain further insight into the relationship between Liza and Maggie as Maggie taunts Liza into an argument. Sara is once again the peacemaker between the women. Maggie firmly believes that bondagers should be selected on how they work not on how they look. The surprise of the scene is Maggie challenging the bondage system declaring it is unfair and an end should be put to it – this is the first time we see her challenging convention. Liza also challenges convention by stating that they should be the ones at the meeting to discuss and negotiate their working conditions and pay as ther are more women than men at that time of year – however, even though for once her and Maggie are somewhat in agreement, Maggie launches another attack on Liza for spending all the money she has on clothes. Ellen and Liza then describe the ridiculous amount of labour they have to do but share a pride in this work and what, they as women, can achieve. We get a sense that Ellen has reached a position that Liza too would like to be in.
Working conditions: ‘A shilling! Is that all we’re worth?’
‘Muck. A heap of it – higher than your head’
‘At the end of the day I used to scaffle on all
Social convention: ‘but what we really need is an end to the
Role of Women: ‘A sweet face won’t shift the sharn’ – Maggie
Contrast - ‘We’d still get picked by our looks’ - Liza
‘We canna work like the men’ – Sara
Social Class: ‘In the big hoose’
‘In the big bed!’
Social Convention: ‘We should make the speeches’
Another confrontation between Maggie and Liza which increases throughout the scene. Maggie is instructing Liza on what work needs to be done and what is expected of a women. Liza stands her ground and shows her independence. Most importantly she refutes the idea that women should have ‘bairns’ and states that she doesn’t’ even want marriage for years. This goes against all social expectation and conventions of the time which is what Maggie represents – ‘Fields aye need folk’. However, we see Maggies more feminine and vulnerable side at the end when Liza tells Maggie she knows how her husband is treating her and how she constantly has to fight off his sexual advances (highlighting how men treated their wives).
SOCIAL CONVENTION: ‘I’m not getting wed’ ‘Not for years’ - Liza
‘That’s what you wed for, bairns!’ –
GENDER ISSUES: ‘Nothing about fighting him off in the
‘That’s what you wed for, bairns!’
The women are returning home very early in the morning, clearly high on excitement of the Kirn. However, Maggie is furious at their behaviour. We then discover that Tottie had not come home and when she finally appears, she is talking of her marriage to kello. Sara then notices blood on her skirt and we realize Tottie has, in effect, been raped (remember her mental age). The women know that it is likely Tottie will be blamed.
QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT
Why would Tottie be blamed? – ‘It’ll make him angrier at Tottie’
In the description of the play it is said that Tottie ‘represents the land’ – what might be meant by this statement?