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Compare how Willy Russell portrays the two mothers in "Blood Brothers". Account for the different reactions the audience will have towards the two women

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Introduction

Compare how Willy Russell portrays the two mothers in "Blood Brothers". Account for the different reactions the audience will have towards the two women In Willy Russell's musical "Blood Brothers" he uses contrasting character to portray his ideas on socially disadvantaged people during the 1980s. He champions the poor; he sets his musical in Liverpool where the divide is obvious. By looking at the two mothers, Mrs Lyons and Mrs Johnston the divide, socially clear. The audience first come across Mrs Johnston when she enters the stage with her back to the audience sweeping and singing. The audience's first impression of Mrs Johnson conforms to the working class stereotype and her low status. This is supported by the fact that she lives in social housing and is down trodden. The lyrics of the song contribute to this. She sings "By the time I was twenty-five, I looked forty-two..." During the song she is describing her past life and how she became pregnant "...the three months on I found myself in the club again..." ...read more.

Middle

Mrs Johnston tries to reassure her children by saying "...Next week I'll be earnin', we'll have loads of things to eat..." On the other hand in act 1 scene 3 we learn more about Mrs Lyons, Mrs Johnston's employer, she lives in a "rather large" "pretty" house outside of the social housing estate. We first see Mrs Lyons when she enters the room, which Mrs Johnston is cleaning, carrying a "small parcel". The stage directions tell us she is "bright, breezy, early thirties..." By the way Mrs Lyons talks, it is certainly easy to define that she comes from a wealthier background. Lines such as "Myself I believe an adopted child can become one's own." We can relate to Mrs Johnston's word's "It's Weird isn't it" how someone who seems to have all the material advantages can't have children "and me I can't stop having them". Willy Russell makes us wonder again about class differences, at the point in the play just after the baby has been born, when Mrs Lyons acts in a superior arrogant way saying "Their born you and you didn't notify me?" ...read more.

Conclusion

The policewoman address's Mr and Mrs Lyons by using their surname, she plays it down when talking to them "It was more of a prank really". I believe that Mrs Lyons is trying to build a friendship with the police woman, by inviting her in for a drink "thank for the drink." "Blood Brothers" looks at the differences and conflicts of two different upbringings; poor and rich. Although both mothers seem stereotypical, one representing the poor and the other representing the rich, Willy Russell is obviously championing the poor. There are times in the play where Mrs Johnston qualities seem better than Mrs Lyons, making the audience symmetrises them both, especially when Mrs Johnston gives up one of her babies. The sadness of the whole story is shown in Act 5 Scene 5 with the narrator's speech, "There's a full moon shining on a hole in the clay Only black cards dealt on the thirteenth day. Two spoons in a cup and an itching knee Oh Jesus shine light on me Oh Jesus shine light on me. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sophie Ripley ...read more.

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Response to the question

The answer here is a good attempt, but there are fundamental flaws in relation to the question, meaning it is not wholly satisfied by the answer, Where the candidate's answer is good is their sound analysis of Mrs. Johnstone (the ...

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Response to the question

The answer here is a good attempt, but there are fundamental flaws in relation to the question, meaning it is not wholly satisfied by the answer, Where the candidate's answer is good is their sound analysis of Mrs. Johnstone (the candidate frequently misspells this character's name, writing "Mrs. Johnston"). They show a good understanding of how Russell created the class divide through the use of stereotype, commenting on accent and her social background (some more analysis of the social context of Liverpool at the time may assist here).

The structure of the answer is a bit awry, with a clear bias towards Mrs. Johnstone and only very limited consideration of Mrs. Lyons. The candidate would serve themselves better if they considered how both characters differ or are similar, select one particular point to analyse in each paragraph, and comment on the differences and similarities between the two, before going on to the next point. Candidates are instructed to "Compare" the portrayal of the two mothers, and so explicit comparative points are necessary to earn the highest marks, although there is an obvious lack of explicit comparative points here.

Level of analysis

The level of Analysis here is fair, but very biased towards Mrs. Johnstone. Almost all subsequent analysis for Mrs. Lyons appears to feature Mrs. Johnstone, whereas some of the candidate's analysis of Mrs. Johnstone alone ignores Mrs. Lyons, so the answer does not present a balanced comparison, or any very interesting comparative points at all. There is evidence of an attempt to do this, but the candidate does not, as the mark scheme requires, "provide interesting and insightful comparative points". A lot of the obvious comparison is just that - obvious. To improve, I recommend the candidate selecting what could be different or similar between them that is beyond the way they speak and what they do in the play. Think of their backgrounds (one wealthy, one poor); their positions (one a single mother of many, the other a rich woman bored and unable to bear children), so with these two things we can see both woman are discontent with their love lives, but Mrs, Johnstone at least has borne children from her frequent love affairs. Mrs. Lyons, trapped by propriety has only one partner and is not able to bear children, hence is bored and feels undervalued despite her wealth, with no-one to care for. This is the level of detail the candidates need to consider, particularly at A Level.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication raises many points and is not really very good. The candidate makes frequent errors ranging from small things like accidentally writing "Will Russell" and not using the appropriate punctuation when writing the title of published works (the candidate uses quotation marks ("Blood Brothers"), when they should use inverted commas ('Blood Brothers')), to far large issues like malapropisms ("This is velar by the way they communicate") and misquoting the play "(Their born you and you didn't notify me?"). All these issues need to be addressed, some of them can easily by rectified if the candidate conducts a read-through and spell-check to iron out any mistakes a spell-checker might miss. If candidate's fail to do so, it sends a message to the examiner that they do not really care enough about their own work to correctly ensure clarity in their written expressions.


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