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Can Willy Russell be accused of using stereotypes as a means of putting his opinions forward?

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Introduction

Asha Greaves Assessed Coursework Can Willy Russell be accused of using stereotypes as a means of putting his opinions forward? Throughout the play; 'Our Day Out', written by Willy Russell, there is a constant use of stereotypes portrayed in the characters. Stereotypes are standardised characters or a fixed idea of something. Willy Russell used stereotyping as an effective way of putting his opinions forward because he could develop his initial ideas for characters to raise awareness of what Liverpool was like in the 1970s. In my opinion Willy Russell wanted to show the general life of many children in Liverpool in the 1970s and also to show that stereotypes create false views of certain people and are harmful in general. In the text, the main characters are children and teachers in 1970S Liverpool. Teachers are often stereotyped anyway; people presume that they are strict and disliked or the opposite. This contrast is shown with the two characters Mr Briggs, who is rather strict and Mrs Kay who is not. In the play Mr Briggs is often shouting at the children or telling them off: "Never mind what for, just do what you're told, lad." This emphasises the point that he is stern. There are no points in the text where Mrs Kay has this attitude directly towards the children. The children in the play are also stereotyped because they live in a rough area and don't have many opportunities- because of the fact that they live in Liverpool. ...read more.

Middle

We also have to accept that Willy Russell is just a normal person and it is just natural to use stereotypes. Therefore he may not have purposely used stereotypes to put his opinions forward, and surely if he was set on using stereotypes for this purpose he would have stereotyped all of his characters and not made certain characters unpredictable- like Carol for example. Also, characters like Briggs change too often for Willy Russell to have purposely used stereotypes to give him an advantage. In the play, the language used is typical for the 1970s in Liverpool at the time. The children's characters use slang and dialect through their speech, which makes them seem more genuine. "Go on... gis a ciggy." The children are often using slang like this and it is natural to their everyday speech. However, if they were not using slang words and instead Standard English we would find that most of the characters speak in a literary manner and are grammatically correct, like when Ronson is talking about the animals in captivity in the zoo; "It kills them cos they're cruel to it. They keep it in a pit so when it gets out it's bound to be mad an' wanna kill people. Don't you see?" This shows us that the children can back up their points with their own knowledge. ...read more.

Conclusion

Conclusively, in my opinion, Willy Russell can be accused of using stereotypes as a means of putting his opinions forward. There are numerous occasions is the play 'Our Day Out' where children, teachers, shopkeepers and various other groups of people are presented to the audience in a certain way. Some of Willy Russell's characters don't seem typically stereotyped because their personalities change, but they are still strong in their stereotype at different points of their personalities. For example when Mr Briggs is harsh he is very harsh but when he is caring he is very caring. I feel that Willy Russell uses stereotypes as a means of putting his opinions forward because stereotypes are so powerful and would make his opinions clear without directly linking them to him. They also make the text more understandable for the reader and intended audience. As a final point, I feel that Willy Russell uses stereotypes to no only make his opinions known but also to show that stereotypes are very powerful and maybe even deter people from using them as they can limit a persons mind, if, for example a child had been told they wouldn't get a good job it may stop them from trying. Therefore Willy Russell does use stereotypes to put forward his opinions and may also use them to make people think carefully before they make presumptions about someone because of their age, race, job, wealth, beliefs or even their background. 1,814 words ...read more.

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