Demonstrate, in detail, how the writer uses language effectively to represent Maggie’s character and role in act one of “Hobson’s Choice.” Hobson’s choice The play is set in Salford in 1880. The year is a very important thing in the play because some characters are not fit for what time they are in because women were often thought of as lower class because they could not work to earn money. Maggie is an example of this. In 1880 women were not usually able to tell people what to do but Maggie often uses imperatives to order people about.
Men would think it was foolish to listen to a woman; many men those days would even think that women were inferior to men so are unable to work or vote. In the play Maggie immediately takes control of situations with ease. The other main characters in the play are Hobson, Willie, Vicky and Alice. Alice, who is twenty one and Vicky, who is twenty three are Maggie’s younger sisters. Maggie, who is thirty, is the eldest daughter of Hobson.Order now
At the start of act one Maggie is already showing her character. As soon as Maggie enters the shop she is working with an account book while her sisters are reading and knitting this show that Maggie is a hard worker and always wants to work to get the job done to move on and do something else, this shows she is determined to work quickly and efficiently. Maggie also shows she knows a lot about the family life. Vicky said “Has he had breakfast yet, Maggie?” (He meaning Hobson,) Maggie replies, “Breakfast! With a masons’ meeting last night?” Maggie replies like Vicky should know the answer automatically.
When Albert Prosser enters the shop Maggie “rises.” This could be symbolic of her rising to a challenge. Maggie is formal to Albert calling him “Mr Prosser.” This again could be her trying to be respectful to men which was expected in those days. When Albert tries to leave without buying anything Maggie stops him saying, “this is a shop, you know.” She states the obvious to him, later saying “We’re not here to let people go out without buying.” Here she demands Albert to buy something. This shows she has a strong character that isn’t afraid to stand over men. Albert asks for a pair of shoe laces but Maggie turns a deaf ear asking what size show he wears. This shows that she will only listen to what she wants to hear because she just ignores what he said to ask him a question.
After Maggie gets a pair of boots she “pushes him slightly.” When she pushes him this could be a sign of annoyance which shows she has a very short temper or it could just show she is in a rush trying to do more than one thing at a time. After she tells Albert to “sit down,” the use of the imperative here is very demanding literally forcing him to sit down after she had just pushed him. When Maggie sees Albert’s boots she said “these uppers are disgraceful for a professional man.” She is prepared to insult Albert, a professional man as she said just to make a sale, this shows there is no limit of what she would do just to make a sale.
Maggie shows a hint of sarcasm saying “I wonder what brings him here so often?” Maggie knows that Albert and Alice are literally a couple but plays dumb to try and hurt Albert saying he doesn’t show much love because she hasn’t noticed it. She later says to Albert “Do you get through a pair a day? You must be strong.” This is showing her being sarcastic again because she knows he is weak because she has dominated him the moment that he entered the shop, she also talks like she is bored around him. Maggie after commanding him to try the shoes standing up and then put the other on she tells him to sit down which is dominating over him. Mr Prosser really doesn’t want to buy them Maggie says “you can’t go through the streets n odd boots.” This sounds like she is mothering him, like she has took another approach to try to sell the boots to him.
He eventually asks the price Maggie replies normally a pound, which shocks Albert because this is a lot of money, Willie gets eighteen shillings a week which is a lot less and he makes the boots. Maggie tries to sell more saying “if you want leather ones, you being a strong in the arm and breaking so many pairs, you can have them, only tuppence more.” This shows that she is always thinking of selling things her mind never rests she just wants to make as much money as possible of one customer.
She was also being sarcastic saying how strong he was, if I were the director I would cast Albert as a very frail man in the play to make the sarcasm even more demeaning. Maggie later says “you’d better have the old pair mended and I’ll send them home to you with the bill.” Maggie has just had a double sale selling a very expensive pair of shoes and also mending another, this shows how good a saleswoman she really is. Maggie opens the door expecting Albert to leave, which could be interpreted as quite rude considering that he has just spent a lot of money when he didn’t want to.
Maggie said, “he has too much time on his hands.” (He meaning Albert.) This could show Maggie doesn’t like idle people or Maggie is so active she thinks normal people are idle and she has become more of a full time worker than a shop owner’s daughter. After Alice said about how courting has to come first Maggie said, “see that slipper with a fancy buckle on to make it pretty? Courting’s like that, my lass. All glitter and no use to nobody.” Courting is like dating and Maggie, completely devoid of romance, thinks it is unneeded. It could also show that she doesn’t care about fashion because she didn’t like the buckle like the girls may like so she has a very practical mind: a mind of a hard worker and not a woman.