In Bold Girls there are various forms of conflict.
The political and religious conflict of Northern Ireland is the background of the story.
This is not, however, the main concern of the play. The women have learned to accept what is happening in the streets as part of life. To the Bold Girls, the violence is futile, Nora comments,
sure it doesn’t have to be for anything does it? They cope by focusing instead on their own personal and domestic affairs.
While the sound of gunfire is heard from outside, the women watch ‘Blind Date’ as if to blot out reality by immersing themselves in a fantasy world. Marie, for example, says
Turn the sound up on that will you, Nora?
She consoles herself with her memories of Michael. In reality he was unfaithful to her.
She dreams of escaping from her environment and her husband by leaving home with £200. This scheme is hopelessly impractical as Marie points out. Cassie has also tried to escape through relationships with other men and Deirdre’s arrival forces her to face up to her guilt about this.
She has lived through the Troubles and a marriage to an abusive husband, and she believes there
is not a place in the world that is different. Her dream is simply to shut out the bigger picture by focusing on her domestic surroundings.
Deirdre’s destruction of her polyester material represents the destruction of this dream. But this is something that Nora has experienced many times before, as can be seen from her stories, such as the damage to her bamboo suite. Therefore she is likely to continue this method of escape in another form.
Nora and her daughter Cassie are perpetually in conflict with each other. Nora represents an older generation which accepts circumstances,
Will you tell me what the use is in talking? whereas Cassie yearns for something better:
I’m getting chewed and swallowed and eaten alive by all that I’m wanting and can’t have…
Cassie bears grudges over family matters. This is a conflict that is likely to remain unresolved.
Marie is normally the peacemaker but reacts angrily to Deirdre’s revelations about Michael in scene four and violently destroys Michael’s picture. She calms down quickly and (characteristically) immediately sweeps up the broken glass. The scene ends with her treating Deirdre in a motherly way.