Female characters

Lucille Bentley

A sketcher in the company and every Slab Boy’s dream. All of the Slab Boys want to take her to the staff dance. Lucille is desirable - beautiful, sassy and stylish.

Lucille is dismissive of the Slab Boy’s childish behaviour. When she first enters she cuts through Phil and Spanky's banter:

quote
Quit talking in riddles. If you've something to say spit it out.

But while Lucille is straight talking, she is every bit as sharp and funny as the boys. She sums up Hector very quickly:

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I've seen better hanging from a Christmas tree.

This is particularly black humour, given Hector's previous suicide attempt. It is not spelled out whether Lucille is aware of this or not.

Despite being the object of everybody’s dreams we are given very little insight into her dreams. But it is clear she does not want to settle down and be dependent on a man. Her confidence is evident when she tells Sadie she is:

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Lucille Bentley…Woman of the World…Fling out your men!

She has affection for James Dean and agrees to go to the dance with Phil. These suggest a love for rebellion, but ultimately Lucille chooses to go to the Staffie with Alan. The main factor in her decision appears to be the fact that Alan can pick her up in his dad’s MG car. We don't find out a huge amount about Lucille, but she clearly exhibits a degree of conflict between her working-class street smarts, and her aspirations to the enjoyment that middle-class privilege can bring.

As Phil and Curry represent the generation gap between men, Lucille and Sadie play a similar role. Compared to the older woman, Lucille stands for youthfulness, growing female independence and a desire to grab the best out of life.

Sadie

The long-suffering tea lady. Sadie She is also nurturing towards Hector and attempts to defend him against Phil and Spanky’s bullying.

Sadie is the long-suffering tea lady, who is representative of an older generation of working class women. She criticises the behaviour of Phil and Spanky, preferring Alan’s mannerly approach.

She is extremely nurturing and maternal towards Hector and protects him from Phil and Spanky’s abuse:

quote
Leave my beautiful wean alone, you pair of hooligans!

An intimate discussion with Lucille, shows a gulf in attitudes and experience between them. Sadie describes her useless husband, reveals that she suffered from breast cancer. While life has been hard for Sadie, she still has her dreams - even if they are just dreams of escaping her marriage:

quote
Soon as I've a good wee bankbook I'm showing that swine the door.

Her disillusionment with love and romance conflicts with Lucille’s youthful, positive outlook, while her willingness to graft, with very little to show for it, highlights the plight of many working class women. Sadie is stoic in the face of adversity and her ability to challenge the Slab Boys, work until her feet ache, avoid self-pity and continue to dream is admirable.

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